Maya Moore has decided to retire officially from playing basketball.
The Minnesota Lynx star stepped away from the WNBA in 2019 to help her now-husband Jonathan Irons win his release from prison by getting his 50-year sentence overturned in 2020. Irons married Moore soon after his release and the couple had their first child, Jonathan Jr., in July.
She announced her decision to retire on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Before Monday, Moore had been noncommittal about ever playing basketball again.
“Well, I think it’s time to put a close to the pro basketball life,” Moore said. “I walked away four seasons ago but wanted to officially retire. This is such a sweet time for us and our family. The work we’ve done. I want to continue that in our next chapter. Be home for my community and family. … That’s what I’m moving into. Hanging it up.”
The 33-year-old Moore won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx, two Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball and two NCAA titles with UConn.
“On behalf of the Minnesota Lynx organization, I want to congratulate Maya on an incredible basketball career,” Lynx coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve said. “We will always cherish her time in a Lynx uniform and we wish her the best as she continues to pursue this next chapter of her life.”
Moore will be eligible for the Naismith Hall of Fame next year since she stopped playing four years ago.
Moore was one of the rare athletes to leave their sport in the prime of their career. She was drafted No. 1 by the Lynx in 2011 and averaged 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals for Minnesota. She was the league’s MVP in 2014 as well as winning Rookie of the Year.
“We are immensely grateful for the eight incredible seasons Maya Moore gave to the WNBA and to fans of women’s basketball everywhere,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “Her four WNBA championships, six All-Star selections, an MVP award and a Finals MVP trophy are indicative of the type of rare, generational talent Maya brought to this league, but perhaps her greatest legacy will be what she accomplished beyond the game.
“Her staunch advocacy for change to the criminal justice system through her ‘Win With Justice’ project elevated her impact to new heights, and her work has and will continue to inspire her fans around the world.”
When Moore stepped away from basketball, she started a social action campaign “ Win With Justice.” Moore and her husband also have a book coming out this week titled “Love & Justice.”
She finished her career as the Lynx franchise leader in scoring average, 3-point field goals made (530) and steals (449) and finished second in total points scored (4,984), field goals made (1,782), assists (896) and blocks (176).
“Maya Moore has forever left a mark on the state of Minnesota, the Minnesota Lynx franchise and the hearts of Lynx fans everywhere,” Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor said. “Maya’s accolades are numerous; her leadership and talent both fearless and inspirational set the foundation for the most exciting and historic championship run in the league from 2011-2017. While today culminates Maya’s basketball career, there is no doubt she will continue to impact the game we all love. We wish Maya all the best and will root for her always.”
Moore went 150-4 in her career at UConn. The two-time AP Player of the Year was a key part of the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak that was the longest-ever until the school had an 111-game run a few years later.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports