Four-time WNBA champion Maya Moore has officially retired from basketball.
After being noncommittal about returning to WNBA, Moore officially announced her retirement in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“I think it’s time to put a close to the pro basketball life,” Moore said in the interview. “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.”
In 2019, Moore took a leave of absence from the sport to focus on criminal justice reform. In 2020, she helped to overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for battery and assault.
Following his release from prison, Moore and Irons married in 2020. They had their first child, Jonathan Jr., back in July.
After the show, Moore took questions from reporters on a video call where she acknowledged that she missed the camaraderie of her teammates but making a comeback was not in the cards for her. Instead of basketball, fighting for social justice had become the driving force of her life.
“Just trying to learn a new rhythm outside of playing—I didn’t really wrestle with a desire to want to switch that pace up,” she said. “I wasn’t just sitting around wishing I was playing again. I just felt such a sense of purpose.”
In a statement, the Minnesota Lynx lauded Moore as one of the all-time greats to ever play in the league.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the WNBA, also paid tribute to Moore describing her as a “rare, generational talent.”
“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. We wish the best for Maya and her family in the future,” Engelbert's statement read.
Moore began her remarkable career at the University of Connecticut where she was twice named AP Player of the Year. She led the Lady Huskies to back-to-back national championships in 2009 and 2010.
At the 2011 WNBA Draft, Moore was drafted by the Lynx with the first overall pick. During her eight seasons in Minnesota, she was selected to six All-Star games, won three All-Star game MVPs, earned five straight to the All-WNBA First Team, and was the MVP of the league in 2014. She also made history as the first female basketball player to sign with the Jordan brand.
Moore went on to win two Olympic gold medals and won two gold medals at the FIBA World Championships, as one of the most decorated basketball players ever.
In addition to announcing her retirement, Moore and Irons have released their first book Love & Justice: A Story of Triumph on Two Different Courts, which chronicles their journey for justice and how it evolved into a story of their enduring love for each other.
Love & Justice will be available on January 17, 2023.