Although Minnesota Lynx and WNBA fans likely haven’t seen the last of Maya Moore on a basketball court, they won’t see the star suit up for at least one more season.
Moore officially announced on Wednesday what many around the league anticipated heading into a new year: she will sit out her second straight WNBA season to focus on interests beyond basketball.
In an interview with Kurt Streeter of the New York Times on Wednesday, Moore announced she will skip the 2020 WNBA season as she works to “continue to push for criminal justice reform and the release of Jonathan Irons.”
Ahead of the 2019 campaign a year ago, the All-Star player and 29-year-old Lynx wing shocked the sports world when she took to the Players’ Tribune announcing that she will not be playing professional basketball to focus on investing time in her ministry dreams.
Moore, who has had a strong religious background throughout her life, has spent the last year giving back to various communities in multiple ways while being active in her ministry interests. More specifically, Moore has been focused on serving as an advocate and public voice surrounding criminal justice reform and most notably the case of Irons.
Irons is an inmate that Moore met over 10 years ago through a prison ministry outreach program in her hometown of Jefferson City, Mo. Irons is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence after being charged with a non-fatal shooting near St. Louis, a crime that both Irons and Moore believe he was wrongly convicted of.
The decision of Moore taking the year off a season ago forced the Lynx to go into somewhat of a transitional year while they did manage to return to the playoffs in 2019, only to fall to the Seattle Storm in the opening round of the postseason.
With Minnesota’s vision and focus back on track while awaiting — it hopes — for the eventual return of its All-Star wing, the Lynx have now found out they will once again be without the Hall-of-Fame caliber player for yet another summer.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Moore is done playing basketball for good, however.
In her interview with the New York Times, Moore told the media outlet that she is “in a really good place right now” in her life, adding she doesn’t feel like she is ready to retire from the WNBA just yet. Moore said that “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 her to make that decision.
“Over the last year, we have been in frequent contact with Maya around the great work in criminal justice reform and ministry in which she is fully engaged,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said in a statement released by the organization Wednesday evening. “We are proud of the ways that Maya is advocating for justice and using her platform to impact social change.”
The former No. 1 overall pick, four-time WNBA Champion and annual WNBA All-Star has been a staple to Minnesota’s lineup and success since she broke into the league in 2011. In 2018, Moore averaged 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Lynx. Overall in her career, she holds career averages of 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
And for at least one more season, those statistics and accolades will remain the same as she officially won’t suit up in a Lynx uniform for the 2020 campaign.
What lies ahead for Moore in the future remains up in the air, although Moore was open for really the first time since her initial announcement to sit out about exploring a return to the basketball court in the future.
But we now know one thing for sure — the WNBA star won’t be playing in the league yet again this year as she focuses on something far more important to her than what she could accomplish on the basketball court.