Former UConn standout Maya Moore hasn't played a WNBA game since 2018, instead focusing on, among other things, criminal justice reform.
Her efforts paid off on Monday when Jonathan Irons, a Missouri man convicted of burglary and assault 22 years ago, had his initial conviction vacated by a judge. Moore worked alongside Irons' family and friends to help overturn the conviction of a man, now 39 years old, who has served more than half of his life in prison.
"This day has been a long time coming," Moore said following the conclusion of the hearing. "We are just so grateful and thankful to God and to everybody who has played a role in bringing justice."
Moore announced last year that she would take a hiatus from the WNBA, despite the fact that she was coming off a 2018 season in which she was named to her sixth WNBA All-Star Game, winning her second consecutive All-Star Game MVP in the process. She and the Minnesota Lynx were eliminated by the Los Angeles Sparks in the first round of the playoffs.
"My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball, but will instead be on the people in my family, as well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years," Moore wrote in The Players' Tribune last year.
In January, she told the New York Times she'd be sitting out the 2020 season, as well, this time to focus specifically on Irons' case.
"I'm in a really good place right now with my life, and I don't want to change anything," Moore said. "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."
According to ESPN, "Judge Daniel Green's ruling granted Irons' petition for a writ of habeas corpus, vacating his convictions for burglary and assault. He placed a stay on the order, allowing the state 15 days to request a review by the appellate court. If the state does not appeal, then St. Charles County has 30 days to decide if it wants to retry Irons."
If Moore never plays basketball again competitively, she's proven that her many accomplishments on the court pale in comparison to the change she can affect off of it.