The Week (US)

Why Moore sacrificed her basketball prime


Maya Moore stunned the basketball world by putting her playing career on hiatus, said

Kurt Streeter in The New York Times. Having helped lead the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx to four championsh­ips, the star forward announced in 2019 she was leaving the court to help Jonathan Irons—Inmate No. 101145 at a maximumsec­urity prison in Missouri. In 1998, the then16-year-old Irons had been sentenced to 50 years for a robbery and assault he denied committing. Having gotten to know Irons through a prison ministry, Moore and her family became convinced of his innocence. They hired lawyers to help with his last-ditch appeal, and in March 2020, a state judge vacated his conviction­s. A day after Irons’ release, he proposed to Moore. Weeks later, they married, publicly revealing a romance that had blossomed in secret. “It would have been too much to navigate telling a love story on top of Jonathan’s fight for freedom,” says Moore. Irons, 41, is now learning the basics of modern life—how to use an ATM, where to buy clothes—and trying to overcome the trauma of 23 years behind bars. Moore, 31, could return to the WNBA and play for years, but she’s not ready to make that commitment. “The first year of marriage requires a lot. Right now my priorities are where they need to be. I’m in a place where I can actually enjoy life and my husband’s freedom without the burden of being in a fight for his freedom.”

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