By: Kylan Watson
Historically when an athlete at the height of their career steps away from their sport of choice. Its because of an extenuating circumstance. For Muhammad Ali it was because he refused to be involved in the Vietnam War, Magic Johnson because of his HIV diagnosis, Michael Jordan because he lost his love of the game, and so many more. Not many athletes willingly give up two prime years to help a friend get out of prison for a wrongful conviction. Maya Moore decided to stop playing in the WNBA to dedicate herself to helping Jonathan Irons get out of prison.
Moore was arguably the face of the WNBA, she is a four-time WNBA champion, a 2013 finals MVP, a 2014 WNBA MVP, a two-time NCAA Women’s Basketball National champion, and she has two Olympic gold medals.
Moore’s greatest accomplishment as of Wednesday night maybe a Criminal Justice reformer. On Wednesday night Jonathan Irons was freed from the Jefferson City Correctional Facility. For both Irons and Moore this was the end of a long fight. They had been fighting for over two years to get Irons’ 50-year conviction for burglary and assault overturned. In March Moore and Irons finally got that victory in court they when a Missouri judge vacated the 1998 conviction and the prosecutor did not want a retrial.
Now Irons is free after being in prison for 22-years, and he has Moore to thank for that.
With the climate in this country in wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. There have been many questions and issues raised around the criminal justice system in the United States. Many athletes have been taking to the streets in protest and recognizing the power of their platform.
One athlete who stands above them all right now is Maya Moore. She not only has recognized the power of her platform but used her resources to help someone who was wrongfully convicted. She may be the athlete of the decade, and a lot of people can learn from Moore’s example. She is Moore than an athlete.