Maya Moore won’t return for 2021 WNBA season

    Katie Barnes is a writer/reporter for espnW. Follow them on Twitter at Katie_Barnes3.

Former WNBA MVP and four-time WNBA champion Maya Moore announced on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that she will not be returning to the court for this upcoming WNBA season.

Moore, 31, last played in the WNBA during the 2018 season, before announcing in February 2019 that she would be taking some time away from basketball to focus on family and “ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.”

For the next year and a half, she committed to working for the release of Jonathan Irons from prison, a man from her childhood home state of Missouri who had been convicted of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon in 1998 when he was 16 years old.

Last March, a judge ruled that prosecutors had suppressed evidence that would have bolstered Irons’ defense. His conviction was vacated and he was released from prison on July 1. Moore and Irons, 41, were married last summer.

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

Earlier this week, Irons filed a civil lawsuit against the authorities that investigated his case.

“I am not the only person that this has happened to,” Irons 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.”

Moore and Irons intend to continue to advocate for criminal justice reform.

“The way you change things is one person at a time, one story at a time,” Moore said. “That’s what we’re really after, redefining what a win is in our justice system.”

Moore won four WNBA championships as a member of the Minnesota Lynx, and was named league MVP in 2014. She was the 2011 WNBA Rookie of the Year, a six-time All-Star, and also won two NCAA championships as at the University of Connecticut. For her WNBA career, she has averaged 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

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