Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

Maya April Moore is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx who is currently on sabbatical. Sports Illustrated called Moore the most outstanding winner in the history of women’s basketball, naming her their Inaugural Performer of the Year in 2017. Moore was the National Gatorade Player of the Year, the Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year, and a McDonald’s All-American in high school. She played forward for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team and won back-to-back national championships in 2009 and 2010.

Moore was the first overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft and joined the Minnesota Lynx team that housed superstars like Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, and Lindsay Whalen. Since 2011, Moore continued to excel, both with the Lynx and overseas teams in Europe and China. She’s won four WNBA Championships, a WNBA Most Valuable Player Award, WNBA Finals MVP Award, three All-Star Game MVPs, two Olympic gold medals, and so much more. Moore gives her time to worthy causes like ending modern-day slavery and reforming the American justice system outside of her basketball career. Here are some other interesting facts about Maya Moore.

Moore is on sabbatical from pro-basketball.

In 2019, Moore announced that she was leaving professional basketball for family. She wrote a piece in the Player’s Tribune stating that she wouldn’t be playing in the upcoming season after considering her purpose. According to Moore, her calling is to know Jesus and make Him known. She pointed to the Bible verse Colossians 3:23, which she often used when signing autographs for fans. The verse says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Moore also said that she would use her time away to invest time into some ministry dreams that had been stirring in her heart for many years. Numerous players commended her for her decision, from Steph Curry to Sheryl Swoopes.

Moore married a man she helped free from prison.

In 2020, Moore married Jonathan Irons, a man serving a 50-year sentence for allegedly shooting and robbing a man outside of St. Louis when he was 16-years-old. Irons insisted that he wasn’t at the scene, but police arrested him anyway and convicted him as an adult. In March 2020, a judge threw out his original sentence, and Irons was freed in July. Moore and Irons got married shortly after his release. The couple met through a prison ministry program when she was 18-years-old. Moore visited the Jefferson City Correctional Center with her godfather in 2007 before going to UCONN. In a “Good Morning America” interview after his release, Moore said she loves her husband’s ability to rise above the chaos of his surroundings, as well as his faith in God. The couple aims to spread the message about With With Justice’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign. They want to make local elections known so that voters can make a real impact on their communities. Irons also hopes to help others facing wrongful convictions without the resources that helped him with his release.

Moore has spoken out about gun violence in America.

Before a Lynx’s game against the Dallas Wings in 2016, Moore and her teammates spoke at a press conference wearing shirts that read “Change starts with us – Justice & Accountability” on the front and “Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Black Lives Matter” on the back. During the presser, Moore said, “If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change.” Castile and Sterling were two Black men shot and killed by the police in 2016. Castile was killed outside of Minneapolis, while Sterling died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Moore’s favorite music genre is gospel-hip hop mix.

Moore doesn’t necessarily believe in superstitions, but she had a few things she would do out of routine and habit. For example, she would listen to music on the bus or in the car on the way to a game. Some of the songs on her pre-game playlist include “All I Need Is You” by Lecrae, “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann, and “We Won’t Numb the Pain” by Tenth Avenue North.

Moore won the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2021 ESPYs.

For all of her courageous acts, from speaking out against gun violence to helping free an innocent man from prison, Moore was honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2021 ESPYs. In her acceptance speech, Moore touched on how she was honored to have the ability to continue to share her husband’s powerful story with the world. She also said, “In the face of justice, the courage to care about justice, human dignity, and freedom is now able to be celebrated in this momentous way.” She also said that she’s happy for her husband and all who helped contribute to this victory. The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has become one of the most prominent and prestigious awards in sports. Previous recipients include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, and Billy Jean King.

Maya Moore was at the top of her career in 2019.

She had won multiple awards and could have won many others. Moore used her basketball platform to speak out against violence and help others. However, she chose to walk away from her prestigious basketball career to help an innocent man and pursue her ministry dreams. Not many people would have had the courage to follow in Maya’s footsteps. They would’ve remained comfortable in their positions, feeling like there was nothing they could do or they couldn’t make a difference. However, Maya Moore chose to step out on her faith in God and let Him order her steps. She showed the world that one person could make a difference if they choose to do so. As for whether or not Moore will return to basketball, the world may never know. For now, Maya Moore will continue her fight for justice, and she’ll continue to let God lead the way.

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