Basketball

Maya Moore, former WNBA MVP, still undecided on return

Moore, who left the WNBA in 2019 to help Irons win his release, remains non-committal when asked about returning to the league.

Left league in 2019 to help now husband, Jonathan Irons, overturn conviction

Maya Moore celebrates with a teammate during the women's gold medal game between the United States and Spain at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Moore will be at the ESPYs in New York next week to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Maya Moore's husband Jonathan Irons had a quick answer when asked if he wanted to see his wife, play basketball again.

"I see her all the time. We have a basketball hoop in the back of the house," he said laughing during an interview with The Associated Press this week. "She's still got it. She made a trick shot from her mama's bedroom to the goal. She still shoots from deep and will shoot your lights out."

That fact he says Moore still has it is welcome news for WNBA fans wondering if the former league MVP will return to the league.

Irons was only able to watch Moore on TV when she was dominating women's basketball at UConn and then with the Minnesota Lynx while he was in jail serving a 50-year sentence for a crime that Moore and her extended family helped get overturned.

Maya Moore (right) of the Minnesota Lynx drives to the basket against Essence Carson of the Los Angeles Sparks during Game 5 of the WNBA Finals on Oct. 4, 2017. Moore left the league in 2019 to help release her husband from prison. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

He was released last July and married Moore a few weeks later. A documentary of their story — "Breakaway" — that was produced by Robin Roberts will air next week on ESPN.

Moore, who left the WNBA in 2019 to help Irons win his release, remains non-committal when asked about returning to the league.

"I'm not thinking about that at all right now," she said. "This whole thing has been so unexpected. When Jonathan got home it was like OK now the rest can start in a way. That's what we've been doing. The story is unfolding still. This is where we're at right now, living in the present."

The 32-year-old Moore will be in New York next week to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.

"It's just a special opportunity to continue to celebrate what happened," Moore said. "To continue to have a space to share with people more of my heart. As an athlete, the context of what we do naturally is kind of limited. Our performance, what is going on. The drama of the game. We are more than athletes. We are people. We have stories. We have hearts and lives. We have things that are bigger than sports that makes our hearts beat." 

"The Arthur Ashe Award gives me the opportunity to take a little more time to talk about what really matters. I'm really excited for people to hear and share some of these things directly from me."

The documentary shows footage of Moore and Irons during their journey during the last few years as she tried to help him get his conviction overturned. After he was released, Irons visited the home where he grew up with his grandmother and also visited her grave site. He was in prison when she died and said in the show that he didn't find out she had passed away until a few weeks after.

Moore has always been a private person, rarely giving the public a glimpse of her life until now. The couple went to California and has also visited the Grand Canyon.

Irons said he has appreciated the little things people take for granted since his release on July 1, 2020.

"I got to hold a baby for the first time in 22 years," said Irons, though he and Moore don't have children and he didn't say who's baby he held. "It was scary but such a wonderful thing."

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