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Maya Moore has clear path, but not as far as returning to WNBA

Former Connecticut player and Minnesota Lynx Maya Moore acknowledges crowd reaction before a 2020 game in Hartford, Conn.
Former Connecticut player and Minnesota Lynx Maya Moore acknowledges crowd reaction before a 2020 game in Hartford, Conn.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)

Maya Moore surprised many in 2019 when she stepped away from the WNBA to commit full time to social justice work. She’s now spent two seasons away from basketball and doesn’t have a clear timeline for her return.

“This journey has been quite wild, so I’m still trying to take that time to really get settled,” she said Wednesday in an interview alongside husband Jonathan Irons conducted by Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” “We just got married, so I’m still planning on taking some rest and really just leaning into this season of enjoying Jonathan and having this full year.”

Moore assisted Irons in gaining his freedom last year after he was wrongfully convicted of burglary and assault as a teenager in 1998. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Moore started working on his case in 2016 while balancing a superstar basketball career in which she was a six-time WNBA All-Star, four-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. She announced her departure from basketball at the age of 29. She married Irons in September.

“It’s been full, to say the least,” she said of her life post-basketball. “We get to actually live together and live life together and fulfill some dreams together and have fun and just kind of relaxing after such a long stretch of battle and stress and striving.”

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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.

The work continues as Irons filed a civil lawsuit Monday against the authorities who imprisoned him.

“I am not the only person that this has happened to,” he said. “This lawsuit is about publicly exposing what has happened to me, sharing the truth and creating public awareness and hopefully creating a deterrent to stop this from happening to someone else.”

Even if Moore’s return to basketball is uncertain, she still is committed to getting victories, just a different kind.

“The way you change things is one person at a time, one community at a time, one story at a time, making justice more about restoring things than just paying penalties,” she said, explaining the mission of her organization Win With Justice. “So that’s what we’re really after, redefining what a win is in our justice system.”


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