Former WNBA star Maya Moore marries Jonathan Irons, the man she helped free from prison

Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons
(Twitter / @MooreMaya)

Maya Moore stepped away from the WNBA before last season to help fight for the freedom of a man she and many others believed was wrongfully imprisoned.

That man, Jonathan Irons, had his conviction overturned earlier this year and walked free in July.

Soon after, he became Moore’s husband.

The couple announced Wednesday during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” they had recently tied the knot. They also promoted the social justice work they continue to pursue with Moore’s Win With Justice foundation and the “Get Out the Vote” campaign.


“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we’ve been doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore said. “So we got married a couple months ago. We’re excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”

Moore was 18 when she met Irons at a maximum security prison through a ministry program. At the time, he was serving a 50-year sentence after being convicted of burglary and assault as a teenager in 1998. In the years since that first meeting, Moore has accomplished a lot in the world of basketball, winning two NCAA titles with Connecticut, four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx and two Olympic gold medals.

But something more was going on in her life as Moore, 31, became closer with the man whose conviction she was fighting to overturn.

“Over the last 13 years, we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home,” Moore said, “and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts.”

Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore, a four-time WNBA champion, left basketball to champion the innocence of Jonathan Irons and become an advocate for criminal justice reform.

Irons, 40, said he had mentioned marriage to Moore once before while he was in prison.

“I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it’s extremely difficult and painful,” he said. “And I didn’t want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability anytime if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”

In March, a judge threw out Irons’ convictions, citing several problems with the case. An appeal of the decision was unsuccessful and a retrial was decided against. So on July 2, Irons was a free man for the first time in 23 years.

While Candace Parker has reaffirmed her status as one of the best in the WNBA, the 34-year-old Sparks star seeks a second title to solidify her greatness.

That night, he asked Moore an important question.

“I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on,” Irons said. “I said, ‘Will you marry me.’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ”