Maya Moore may be the winningest athlete in the history of basketball. Despite her enormous success as a basketball player, her life can be defined by faith, family, and freedom.
Moore’s beginnings shaped her. As a young child, she had no relationship with her biological father but found peace and belonging through her caring mother and Christian faith. “It hit me so hard when I was in middle school that God is my father and he is my identity,” Moore said. Her strong emphasis on the value of family and faith helped shape her as a person and a basketball player.
Moore dominated at Collins Hill High School. The PROLOOK athlete posted a 125-3 record in her four years there, winning three state championships and the 2007 national championship. The All-American won two Naismith Prep Player of the Year awards, a Gatorade Player of the Year award, the 2007 McDonald’s All-America player of the year award, and three Georgia 5A Player of the Year awards.
At UConn, Moore had the winningest college basketball career of all time, boasting a remarkable 150-4 record and two national championships in her four seasons with the Huskies. She was a four-time All-American and won a slew of player of the year awards, including two Wooden Awards, two Honda Awards, and three Wade Trophies—the most prestigious player of the year award in women’s basketball.
Following her illustrious career at UConn, Moore was drafted first overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. She immediately turned the Lynx into winners, winning the WNBA championship behind her Rookie of the Year award-winning play. She only got better from there, being named to the WNBA First Team every year from 2013 to 2017 and winning the 2013 Finals MVP. She went on to win three more titles for the Lynx in 2013, 2015, and 2017 and was the 2014 WNBA MVP. She is also one of the greatest Olympians ever, winning two gold medals and two world championships with Team USA.
In the prime of her career with the Lynx, Moore suddenly stepped away to pursue her passion: social justice. She now fights extensively for those who are victims of an unfair criminal justice system, advocating their freedom through her organization, Win with Justice.
“If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change,” said Moore when asked about social justice issues in her community. One case she became particularly involved in was the case of Jonathan Irons, a man sentenced to 50 years in prison because of circumstantial evidence at the crime scene of a robbery and assault. Because of her dedication and financial help, Moore was able to help Irons gain his freedom after spending over 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Shortly after, her tale took another twist; Moore and Irons were married, bringing together what matters most to her: Faith, family, and freedom.