Many athletes spend their lives dedicated to the sports that they love. Some sacrifice friendships, schoolwork, and even family for their professional sports dream. Once a professional athlete, few leave
their job willingly. Most athletes retire after hitting their physical peak or suffering a career-ending injury. However, for WNBA player Maya Moore, she left her spot on the Minnesota Lynx for a cause close to her heart: justice.
Moore was the WNBA’s first overall draft pick in 2011. She had an amazing collegiate career at the University of Connecticut, scoring over 3,000 points over 154 games. During her time at UConn, the Huskies only lost four games and won two NCAA championships.
Once Moore joined the Lynx in 2011, her future only got brighter. She has four WNBA championships
under her belt and she is a six-time WNBA All-Star. She also played in the Women’s Chinese Basketball
Association, winning three championships with the Shanxi Flame.
In 2019, Moore announced that she would be taking a sabbatical from basketball to focus on her
ministry. She began a non-profit organization called Win With Justice, where Moore has become an advocate for those wrongfully convicted of crimes by prosecutors who are “keeping score”. As the Win
With Justice website states: “We often track success in our justice system with a simple count, choosing
to minimize the complexities of every personal story. We have not adequately valued how our justice system treats those who come into contact with it.”
Through Win With Justice, Moore became an advocate for Jonathan Irons, a man serving a 50- year prison sentence who she believes was wrongfully convicted. At the age of 16, Irons was tried as an adult
and convicted of burglary and assault, despite multiple inconsistencies from witnesses and detectives involved. Irons’ conviction was overturned by a judge in March 2020. After two years of advocating for him and telling his story, Irons was released from prison in June 2020, and Moore was there to greet him as he walked free for the first time in twenty-two years.
Even though Moore could be continuing her insanely successful basketball career, she has chosen to use her platform for a positive change within the American justice system. She continues to advocate for
the thousands of wrongfully convicted men and women across the country. Since Irons’ release in June, they have continued their ministry together, and they even surprised the world with the announcement of their marriage.
While Moore has not retired from basketball or the Lynx (she is officially on sabbatical), she has been able to shift her focus and purpose to the greater good of our society and justice system. Moore’s philanthropy and activism is a great reminder that the sports we love are so much more than just a ball and a net.
Sources: Win With Justice