Maya Moore has won at every level of basketball and the future Hall of Famer took the season off last year from the Minnesota Lynx to devote more time to her family and faith. Moore 30 years old and has been playing the highest level of basketball possible since she was winning championships at UConn, so it’s understandable that she took a year to rest and do things off the court, but the WNBA just isn’t the same without her.
Unfortunately for WNBA fans, it looks like Moore is going to sit out a second straight season. Moore told Kurt Streeter of the New York Times that her year away gave her even greater perspective on life and gave her a new passion and purpose seeking change in the criminal justice system, namely the case of Jonathon Irons.
Maya Moore, the W.N.B.A. star regarded as one of the greats of the sport, will sit out for a second straight season and remove herself from contention for the Olympics so she can continue to push for criminal justice reform and the release of Jonathan Irons, a man she believes is innocent of the crime for which he was sentenced to prison.
“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything,” Moore, an eight-year Minnesota Lynx forward, told The New York Times in a telephone interview this week from her home in Atlanta. “Basketball has not been foremost in my mind. I’ve been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I’ve been able to be there for Jonathan.”
Given the expectation was for her to return to the court after a year away, this news came as a surprise to many. Moore was at the peak of her career when she chose to take a season off, but she has found passions outside of basketball. Her decision to take a second year off raised the question of whether she was mulling retirement, but she denied that was the case, as of now.
Asked during the Times interview this week if she would ever play again, Moore paused to consider her response. “I don’t feel like this is the right time for me to retire,” she said. “Retirement is something that is a big deal and there is a right way to do it well, and this is not the time for me.”
Nonetheless, she added: “I have had such a unique experience in the game. I got to experience the best of my craft, and I did that multiple times. There is nothing more I wish I could experience.”
From a personal perspective, it’s hard to not be happy for Moore and what she is choosing to do with her life. It’s commendable and something worth celebrating. At the same time, basketball and the WNBA is at its best with Moore on the floor and her absence will be missed once again.