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ESPN doc 'Breakaway' on Maya Moore's criminal justice advocacy will debut in July

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Maya Moore, a three-time All-Star Game MVP, is not playing basketball this season, but her presence and impact will still be felt during the WNBA's All-Star Game next month. 

ESPN Films will debut its "30 for 30" installment, "Breakaway," about Moore and her social justice pursuits on July 13, the company announced Wednesday with a trailer release. It will air the night before the All-Star Game, which will also air on ESPN. 

The film project was announced in September shortly after Moore and Jonathan Irons, the man she helped free from prison after a wrongful conviction, announced on "Good Morning America" that they had married.

It is the second big project by ESPN about the WNBA in a space largely devoid of women's sports stories. The documentary "144" brought fans behind the scenes at the 2020 bubble site and into a players-only meeting held by the WNBA Players Association. It aired the night before WNBA tip-off in May. 

ESPN's Maya Moore documentary to debut in July 

The documentary follows Moore after she decided to step away from basketball in February 2019. Moore, one of the greatest players in the world and into her prime at the age of 29, said she would be focusing on "ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years." 

She's a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx and won a league MVP, three All-Star MVPs, and Finals MVP award. The former No. 1 pick was named Rookie of the Year in 2011. She also has two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, which she has also stepped away from, and two national titles while at UConn.

Moore, who announced before the pandemic she would skip the 2020 season, committed her time to helping free Irons, a Black man who was wrongfully convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison at the age of 16. He served 23 years in jail until his conviction was overturned in July 2020. A judge ruled that prosecutors suppressed fingerprint evidence that would have been favorable to Irons' defense. 

Moore and Irons married last summer. The WNBA star, named one of Yahoo Sports' Transcendent 12 for 2020, said in March she would not play this year, but avoided any talk of retirement. 

'Breakaway' chronicles search for justice 

Maya Moore.
The documentary on Maya Moore's time away from the WNBA and her social justice activism will air in July. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The "30 for 30" installment "chronicles a search for justice, and a relationship that changed the lives of two people forever." 

“I am so hopeful that this intimate look at our journey for justice will inspire all to believe that change and justice are possible,” Moore said in September when it was announced. “The heart of this story is that when we see and value the people suffering around us we can start to become the community we know we were meant to be. I’m more convinced than ever that love and sacrifice will lead us to the win for humanity.”

It is directed by Rudy Valdez, whose Sundance Film Festival award-winner "The Sentence" covered mandatory minimums and sentencing reform in the United States. He shot and directed it over a decade.

“I wanted to make this film not only to honor and celebrate the incredible criminal justice reform advocacy that Maya has been working toward with Jonathan Irons, but also to tell a very human story that is often told inhumanely,” Valdez said in a statement. “I hope the film sheds light on how society demonizes both those behind bars and those connected at home and inspires people to find inner strength and fight against a system that does not want us to win.”

"Breakaway" is produced by Reni Calister, John R. Green and "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts, all of Rock'n Robin Productions. Moore's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, is also an executive producer. The documentary will have never-before-seen footage of the famously private basketball superstar.

It will air at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and will re-air on ABC on Aug. 8.

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