Maya Moore has officially decided to retire from playing basketball.
The Minnesota Lynx great stepped away from the WNBA in 2019 to help her now-husband Jonathan Irons win his release from jail by getting his 50-year sentence overturned in 2020. After gaining his release, Irons married Moore soon after and the couple had their first child, Jonathan Jr., in July.
She announced her decision to retire on “Good Morning America.” Before Monday, Moore had been non-committal 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.”
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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.”
She’ll be eligible for the Naismith Hall of Fame next year since she stopped playing four years ago. She missed the deadline to be on this year’s ballot by a month.
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 the Lynx. She was the league’s MVP in 2014 as well as winning Rookie of the Year.
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 illustrious 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.