By Cael Dolph ’23
Maya Moore is a former University of Connecticut graduate and WNBA superstar. Throughout highschool, Moore was a stud and she gained the nomination of having the gatorade female player of the year. After leaving her highschool to play for the University of Connecticut’s basketball team, she did not stop shining. She won back to back national championships and won the John Wooden award which is given to the best female and male college athletes of the year. Later in the 2011 WNBA draft, she was selected first overall to the Minnesota Lynx. In the span of just seven years, her team had won four championships. After seven years in the league, Maya Moore wanted to help the community, so she shortened her career and she is now helping black incarcerated men who were put into jail for something that they didn’t do.
In May of 2019, Moore said she would sit out the season to focus on the people that were in her family, and she would also work on investing her time in some ministry dreams that have been giving her a heavy heart for many years. She invested in helping Jonathon Irons, who was wrongfully convicted of burglary and murder of the Stanley Stotler shooting that happened in Missouri. This happened when he was 16 years old and he was put into prison.
In 2020, after 23 years of being in prison and trying to plead his case that it was not him, the jail and defendants ruled Irons not guilty of the shooting and Burglary that had happened when he was just 16 years old. Some judges and police officers also hid evidence that they had, which was evidence that Irons did not commit the murder. With the help of Maya Moore and both of them fighting against justice there was Later, evidence that came out and he pleaded not guilty and he was set free. Although many judges were against Irons and wanted his conviction to stay guilty, this was later denied by the Missouri Supreme Court which set him free for good.
After the fact that he was set free, Maya moore and jonathan Irons began starting a foundation that would help many other people just like John become set free.
During Johnathon Irons cases, and as he was trying to get set free he was at the help of WNBA star Maya Moore, these two became a dynamic duo and Maya Moore was a force for getting Irons set free. They became super close with one another and spent a lot of time together to help not only him but many other people who have the same matters at their own hands. He later then proposed to her during the case but stated that he wanted to get out of jail before making it official. After he pleaded innocent, Irons proposed to Moore again, this time making it official. This couple is still fighting for justice reform and they work with a group that is called the Win with Justice social campaign, which helps wrongfully convicted people find their freedom. When Maya Moore was asked if she was going to return to the league, she was still up in the air about it and she said that “it’s still not on my mind at the moment, everything has been so full, but finally when Johnathon got home it was like, okay now the rest can start in a way” (Emma Rhurby, 2021) so it is still ambiguous whether she is going to come back and continue being a star in the WNBA.
From becoming a superstar in college and becoming the number one pick in the WNBA draft, Maya Moore cut her career short because of a case that she knew she could help with so that Irons could live in freedom. After many years fighting in courts, it finally became a reality in July 2020, when he was found innocent.