Maya Moore avoids announcing WNBA return, but also doesn't mention retirement

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·4 min read

Maya Moore, a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, appears to still be keeping her next move under wraps though a documentary set for release this week could tell more.

Moore took the last two WNBA seasons off to pursue social justice causes and while she didn't announce her return Wednesday on "Good Morning America," she didn't announce her retirement, either.

Moore appears unsure on return vs. retirement

ABC's Robin Roberts interviewed Moore and her husband Jonathan Irons, the man she helped free from prison and wed shortly afterward. She asked Moore if she was "thinking at all about returning to the game in any capacity?"

"This journey has been quite wild," Moore said on GMA. "So I'm still trying to take that time to really get settled. We just got married, so I'm still planning on taking some rest and really just leaning in to this season of enjoying Jonathan and having this full year."

Moore, 31, announced in January 2020 she would take another season off and had taken her name out of consideration for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything," she told the New York Times. "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.”

The WNBA season appears on track to tip off in May as scheduled. That's about 60 days out from now. Irons will have been out of prison a full year in July. That would be around the All-Star Game break for the WNBA and there's nothing saying she couldn't return then if she wanted. Of course she could also take the full calendar year.

Moore, Irons documentary to air this week

Maya Moore in a UConn T-shirt.
Maya Moore stayed mum on if she will return to the WNBA. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Shortly after the couple announced their marriage in September, ESPN announced production on a documentary project focusing on Moore's work to free Irons.

Irons was wrongfully convicted and spent 23 years in jail on a 50-year murder sentence. He was a family friend of Moore's and she stepped back from basketball to help in his release. A judge overturned the conviction and Irons was released in July. An appeal by the attorney general was denied.

The documentary is in partnership with Rock'n Robin Productions with Roberts producing. She said on GMA the feature will air this week.

It offers a "a deep look at Moore’s commitment to criminal justice reform and the devoted pursuit of freedom for a man unjustly imprisoned.” It includes never-before-seen footage and “uncommonly intimate verité.” Moore is a famously private person and there was no mention of a relationship between the two until their wedding announcement, which drew in interested fans and non-fans alike.

There was a peek at what viewers might see during Wednesday's GMA interview. Irons shared that the menu names confused him the first time he was in a restaurant over the past few decades. And it ended with a sweet moment in Irons asking if they could get a puppy. Moore felt compelled on national TV to say yes.

Moore continues social justice efforts away from court

Moore, named one of Yahoo Sports' Transcendent 12 athletes of 2020, remains committed to social justice reform through her Win With Justice initiative.

"The way you change things is one person at a time," Moore said. "One community at a time. One story at a time. Making justice more about restoring things than just paying penalties. And so that is what we’re really after. Redefining what a win is in our justice system."

Irons, who turned 41 recently, filed a federal lawsuit against St. Charles County (Missouri) officers this week. He was convicted in 1998 of burglary and assault on a homeowner in a crime attorneys said he was framed. He explained why they filed on GMA.

"I am not the only person that this has happened to," he said. "This lawsuit is about publicly exposing what has happened to me, sharing the truth and creating public awareness. And hopefully creating a deterrent to stop this from happening to someone else."

His attorneys say, via the St. Louis Dispatch, "police manipulated the homeowner into identifying Irons, presented a false confession from Irons and ignored fingerprint evidence." Irons' lawsuit includes claims of malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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