Maya Moore Retired From Professional Basketball, Expands Her Legacy

Maya Moore retired from professional basketball after a historic career in order to shift to social justice advocacy.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Mar. 4 2024, Published 12:55 p.m. ET

Maya Moore playing basketball in 2018
Source: Getty Images

Athletes aren't strangers to making stark career pivots at a certain point. Several pro wrestlers like Dwayne Johnson and John Cena have made remarkably clean transitions to successful acting careers. David Beckham got to coast by on good looks with a modeling career after he retired from soccer. You'll even see several major athletes going from the field to commentary on the sports that they once played. It's not always easy for athletes to make that switch, but there are plenty of success stories for those who try.

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Some professional athletes struggle to find their second calling. There are even support groups and resources for athletes looking to make a career change once they face inevitable retirement. Thankfully, though, Maya Moore seems to have found that new path in her life following her success in professional basketball. But why did she retire in the first place and what is she up to now? Let's break down what we know so far about Maya's current career path.

Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons at the Backstage Creations Celebrity Suite at the ESPYS at Mr. C Seaport on July 9, 2021
Source: Getty Images
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Maya Moore already knew what she wanted to do after basketball.

Over the years, Maya has built a reputation as one of the greatest women's basketball players in history. She earned several accolades in high school basketball and won consecutive national championships while attending UConn between 2007 and 2011. She was the first overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft and Rookie of the Year in the same year. Throughout her career, helped win several WNBA All-Star games, multiple wins in the NCAA, and even a Gold Olympic Medal.

Aside from Maya's extensive career in women's basketball, she has been highly active in social justice advocacy in the U.S. In 2016, she and her team in the Minnesota Lynx wore warm-up shirts that showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In that same vein, Maya has also advocated for prosecutorial reform in the American justice system as she combats disproportionate treatment against Black citizens all over the country.

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In one of Maya's more prominent examples of advocacy, she fought for the release of Jonathan Irons, a man who was serving a 50-year prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit. Thanks to her efforts, he was released after serving more than 23 years of the sentence, and the two of them even got married shortly after the fact.

It was movements like these that prompted Maya to retire from basketball, a move that she announced on Good Morning America in January 2023.

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Maya told the morning show, "I think it's time to put a close to the pro basketball life. I walked away four seasons ago, but I wanted to officially retire." She plans to focus on raising a family and continuing her advocacy work with her self-started nonprofit, Win with Justice.

However, Maya continues to expand her legacy in basketball even after retirement. In 2024, Maya had an emotional and heartfelt meeting with Iowa's rising women's basketball star Caitlin Clark as she broke her own records. In April, Maya will be formally inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

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