wnba star steps away from sport to help wrongfully convicted man

January 23, 2020
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Professional American basketball player Maya Moore is one of the best in the WNBA. Cited by legend Kobe Bryant as one of the standout talents who could easily play in the NBA right now, there is no denying her talent. In 2019, she decided to go on sabbatical to focus on prison justice reform and has decided to continue this work in 2020, focusing primarily on freeing a man named Jonathan Irons.

In addition to hitting pause on basketball at 29 years old — a time which the New York Times calls “her prime”  — Moore has removed herself from contention for the Olympics, causing speculation of retirement. Moore emphasizes that though this is her second consecutive year not participating in a basketball season, she is not retired but, instead, continuing on a personal and professional journey that has led her into a good place in her life.

“I don’t feel like this is the right time for me to retire. (…) Retirement is something that is a big deal and there is a right way to do it well, and this is not the time for me.”

The man Moore is working with is 39-year-old Jonathan Irons, who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for burglary and assault. Irons was arrested when he was 16 years old. While the victim named Irons as his assaulter, Irons’ lawyers argue there is no evidence (witness, fingerprints, footprints, DNA). Prosecutors allege that Irons admitted to breaking into the victim’s home but Irons and his lawyers deny this confession ever happened.

Moore’s ability to step back to focus on personal goals aside from the ones she is known for is a great example for people everywhere. She proves that there is never a bad time to step away to reevaluate your time and how to spend it.