Maya Moore legacy extends far beyond basketball court


THE LAST TIME I saw Maya Moore face-to-face, she was retreating behind a closing door in Jefferson City, Missouri, on March 9, 2020. It was a cold, rainy day, but the dreary weather could not drown out the joy in the courthouse. This was the day Moore had prayed for. This was the day she’d worked for since the ball stopped bouncing in her superstar basketball career some 18 months earlier. This was the day.

Jonathan Irons’ conviction for burglary and assault had just been vacated after he’d been in prison for more than two decades. It would be another four months before he’d walk out a free man, but on this day, the victory was exalting.

Moore had gathered with her family and Irons’ legal team in the library next to the courthouse. I stepped out to make a call and left my notebook in the room. When I went back to get it, the door was locked. Moore opened the door, looking at me expectantly because I was interrupting a meeting. After telling her I left my notebook, she handed it to me.

“You can ask me another question,” she said.

I had so many questions. What was it like the first time she met Jonathan when she visited him in prison before her freshman year at UConn? Was Irons on her mind when she and the Lynx spoke out against police brutality in 2016? Would she ever play basketball again?

Instead, I asked her about Scripture. What Scripture had guided her on this quest?

Her response was a verse from the Old Testament: Micah 6:8.

“God says: Mankind, God has given you one thing to do,” she said, leaning against the frame of the door. “Seek justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

The heavy wooden door thudded closed as she went back into the room to continue her work. I often wondered if that door would open again. If — now that she was victorious in the court of law — she would return to the basketball court.

On Monday morning, nearly three years later, the 33-year-old Moore announced on “Good…

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