WNBA star Maya Moore to skip Olympics in fight for inmate’s freedom

Moore, who’s led the Minnesota Lynx to four WNBA championships, will also skip a second consecutive professional season in her efforts to free Jonathan Irons — a 39-year-old man serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assaulting the homeowner with a gun.

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The Lynx’s Maya Moore will skip the Olympics and a second WNBA season.

The Lynx’s Maya Moore will skip the Olympics and a second WNBA season.

Elaine Thompson/AP

Women’s basketball star Maya Moore has taken herself out of consideration for the 2020 U.S. Olympic team to continue her push for the freedom of a Missouri inmate she believes was wrongly convicted.

Moore, who’s led the Minnesota Lynx to four WNBA championships, will also skip a second consecutive professional season in her efforts to free Jonathan Irons — a 39-year-old man serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assaulting the homeowner with a gun.

“Basketball has not been foremost in my mind,” Moore told the New York Times in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I’ve been able to be there for Jonathan.”

Moore met Irons in 2017 when she visited the Jefferson City Correctional Center. Since then, she has helped pay for his defense team and has attended several of his courtroom hearings.

“Over the last year we have been in frequent contact with Maya around the great work in criminal justice reform and ministry in which she is fully engaged,” Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said in a statement released by the team. “We are proud of the ways that Maya is advocating for justice and using her platform to impact social change.”

Moore, 30, told the Times she isn’t ready to retire, but her absence from the upcoming Olympics is a major loss for women’s basketball.

“We are going to miss Maya tremendously, but we also respect her decision,” U.S. national team director Carol Callan told the Times. “We know how devoted she is to what she believes in, and that what she is doing is remarkable.”

Moore helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Read more at usatoday.com

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