By Dorothy J. Gentry
She was the GOAT of the WNBA – winning four championships with the Minnesota Lynx – before leaving it all behind in 2018 at the age of 29 to pursue social justice work.
In that pursuit, she helped free longtime family friend Jonathan Irons and get his 50-year prison sentence overturned. They then married and last summer had a son.
Last week she announced her official retirement from the WNBA.
“I couldn’t have written this story like this,” Moore said. “This has definitely been unexpected. But at the same time, it’s been really thoughtful and planned and prepared. That’s life, right?
“A lot of it is unexpected, but you also do your best to try to be prepared,” she told media after her announcement. “That’s basketball, too. You don’t know how the game’s going to unfold, but you do your best to prepare.”
Moore was the first overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft after a college career at Connecticut where she won two national championships. She won Rookie of the Year for the WNBA and led the Minnesota Lynx to four championships.
Moore, 33, also played internationally in Spain, China and Russia. She also won two gold medals for the United States.
When asked what she hopes fans remember the most about her, Moore said her passion and energy, which she had from childhood.
“I hope people saw me as someone who gave all she had in whatever she was doing but also somebody who looks beyond the craft that I pursue and tries to value people,” Moore said. “Having a healthy, life-giving perspective about where people fit into this this journey of life that we’re in.
“And someone that never gave up. Whether it was being down in a game and trying to help the team come back, or not giving up on a person, like Jonathan. Or just persisting through the grind of every year. I tried to finish the things that I said yes to.”
In a statement, Cheryl Reeve, Lynx head coach and president of basketball operations said: “On behalf of the Minnesota Lynx organization, I want to congratulate Maya on an incredible basketball career.
“We will always cherish her time in a Lynx uniform and we wish her the best as she continues to pursue this next chapter of her life.”