By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
When you think of sacrifice what comes to your mind? When you think of giving back Christian based service what comes to mind? Now imagine walking away from a Hall of Fame career, in the prime of your career, to lend a hand to someone you’ve only recently met.
In a time when much of society has chosen to live by the phrase “what’s in it for me?” this Jefferson City, Missouri native and basketball phenom, Maya Moore, lives by the Martin Luther King Jr. credo, “The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”
Maya Moore did just that, risking her position and her career for a fellow Jefferson City native. Moore, an advocate for prosecutorial reform in the American justice system, met Irons while on prison ministries visit at Jefferson City correctional center years ago. No one could’ve been happier with her decision than Jonathan Irons, who was blessed with Maya’s Moore’s sacrifice and service. Moore believed iron was wrongly convicted and sentenced to fifty years in prison at sixteen years of age and felt led to help prove his innocence.
Moore’s commitment to Irons’ prison release led her to take a sabbatical from her world-renowned basketball career in 2019. She sacrificed her chances to win a third Olympic medal, adding to her Liga Femenina Championship and three WBCA Championships.
Moore is likely the most decorated female basketball player of her time and her accomplishments on the basketball court are staggering. She is a four-time Champion of the WNBA, a WNBA Finals MVP, a league MVP, and six-time WNBA All-Star. As a three-time WNBA All-Star game MVP, she has also been on the All-Defensive Team twice, and she’s been a WNBA scoring champion, a steals champion and a was WNBA Rookie of the year winner, her first year in the league.
In addition to being a two-time Euroleague Champion, she is also a two-time Naismith Award winner, a two-time John Wooden Award winner, two-time AP Player of the Year Award winner, along with being named USBWA Women’s Player of the Year Award winner. In college, Maya led here her University of Connecticut Huskies to seventy-eight consecutive wins while winning one hundred fifty games and only losing four games in her college career, then becoming the first female to be signed to the Jordan Brand.
Literary essayist Samuel Johnson once stated, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” This was the exact case with Moore helping Irons, who could only offer his gratitude in return. Having served twenty-two years of a fifty-year sentence for his convictions for burglary and assault, Judge Green granted Jonathan Irons’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus in March of this year, noting the case against Irons was “very weak and circumstantial at best.”
Missouri judge Daniel Green granted the writ of habeas petition after identifying that the fingerprints report had never been turned over to Irons’ defense team. Furthermore, it was determined the prints found at the crime scene belonged to neither Irons nor the victim of the burglary and assault. Irons was subsequently released from custody on July 1, 2020.
“This day has been a long time coming,” Maya said once the verdict was rendered. “We are just so grateful and thankful to God and to everybody who has played a role in bringing justice.” As for Maya missing basketball, she went on to say “Basketball has not been foremost in my mind. 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.”
I share this story because I believe Maya Moore should be applauded for her sacrifice, acts of kindness, and thinking about how she could positively impact someone else’s life rather than her own. When asked about how others can get involved, Maya Moore pointed out, Athletes for Impact, was a resource she’d partnered with. Win for Justice, was also referenced as an additional resource for athletes and citizens wanting to get involved and supporting a great cause.
Kindly share your thoughts on Maya Moore’s unselfishness and willingness to put basketball aside for a greater cause by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, be sure to subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms; Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, Thank You for making our voice, your choice!