Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore will sit out a second consecutive WNBA season and not play in the Olympics as she continues to push for criminal justice reform and the release of a man she believes is innocent.
Moore, 30, stepped away from basketball last February, saying she had other personal goals she wanted to achieve outside of basketball. One is pursuing the release of Jonathan Irons, a 39-year-old who is serving a 50-year sentence in Missouri after a conviction for burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun.
Moore told the New York Times in a story published Wednesday that she is not planning to retire yet, but added that she doesn't feel an urge to return to basketball.
"I'm in a really good place right now with my life, and I don't want to change anything," Moore said. "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.
.".. "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."
Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve released a statement supporting Moore on Wednesday, reading, "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. We are proud of the ways that Maya is advocating for justice and using her platform to impact social change."
The No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft in 2011, Moore was a core piece of a Lynx team that has played in six WNBA finals since then, winning four league championships.
In her eight seasons in Minnesota, she averaged 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Moore was league Rookie of the Year in 2011, the league MVP in 2014 and the MVP of the 2013 finals. She is a five-time first-team All-WNBA selection and six-time All-Star.
She won two NCAA championships at Connecticut and has been part of two Olympic teams to win gold medals.
--Field Level Media