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Maya Moore to sit out second consecutive season to focus on criminal justice

Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx took a break from the WNBA in 2019 to focus on criminal justice reform. In 2020, she will continue to help an imprisoned Missouri man named Jonathan Irons fight his case.

WNBA: Finals-Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx
The scoring void left behind by Maya Moore (left) has been picked up by Odyssey Sims (right), who signed with the Minnesota Lynx in 2019, and Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier (not shown).
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Maya Moore, one of the most talented and versatile players in the WNBA, will be taking another year off to work toward criminal justice reform, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Specifically, a case against Missouri resident Jonathan Irons caught Moore’s attention and she wants to finish what she started. Moore believes Irons — who already has served 27 years of a 50-year sentence — is innocent of the burglary and assault (with a weapon) charges for which he was convicted.

Moore was born in Jefferson City.

The UConn legend, who led the Minnesota Lynx to four WNBA championships in the last decade, is just 30 years old. She has played in the WNBA for eight years (2011-18), is a six-time All-Star selection, a former Rookie of the Year and the 2014 league MVP.

She maintains that she is not retiring yet:

I don’t feel like this is the right time for me to retire. Retirement is something that is a big deal and there is a right to do it well, and this is not the time for me.

Without Moore and Lindsay Whalen (retirement), Minnesota was a different team in 2019. The Lynx finished seventh in the standings and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

Moore’s announcement also means she will not compete for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

USA Basketball Women’s National Team director Carol Callan made the following statement about Moore’s decision:

We are going to miss Maya tremendously, but we also respect her decision ... A player of Maya’s ability does not walk away from the gym lightly. Everyone feels it. The thing that makes her so special is her approach, her dedication, which has always been contagious for our team. We know how devoted she is to what she believes in, and that what she is doing is remarkable.

Although Moore was clear that she is not retiring yet, fans must be wondering if she’ll appear on a WNBA court again.


Maya Moore’s WNBA status in 2021 will be:

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Returning to the court, baby!
    (15 votes)
  • 10%
    Sitting her third straight season.
    (3 votes)
  • 37%
    Announcing her retirement.
    (11 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now