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Maya Moore: Basketball’s Most Consistent Champion

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
With Maya Moore making her retirement official, Boardroom looks back on a legendary career on and off the court.

You might not be able to find a more consistent winner in all of sports than Maya Moore.

She played basketball in the national spotlight for 12 years — four in college and eight in the WNBA — and won six championships in that time. Moore won a WNBA title in half her seasons in the league, made six All-Star appearances, and was MVP of the game three times. She was also a WNBA Finals MVP, WNBA MVP, and the winner of enough additional individual and team awards to fill a trophy case the size of the Target Center.

Despite not playing in a WNBA game since 2018, she’s remained an icon of the sport, as demonstrated by the overwhelming reaction to her retirement announcement on Monday.

Not many players could go four years without playing a game in the league and command the type of unwavering respect that Moore has, and each year until now, fans have speculated over a potential return. Through it all, she’s remained synonymous with the Minnesota Lynx. In Connecticut, where she won two NCAA titles, she’s known only as Maya. You can probably expect her back in Storrs soon, too, to see her number retired.

Yet everything she’s done on the court somehow pales in comparison to what she’s done off of it.

Maya Moore’s Biggest Win

Moore’s 2018 season ended with the super-skilled wing averaging 18 points a night and leading the league in steals. She was at the top of her game, but decided it was the right time to put her playing career on hold to, as she put it, work on “living out [her] purpose.” At the time, that meant focusing on her family and her faith.

Soon, it also meant fighting for social justice — she worked tirelessly to help secure the release of the wrongfully imprisoned Jonathan Irons, who had spent more than two decades in prison for a murder he did not commit. Irons was released in 2020, and the two have since married and had a son.

Many are familiar with Moore’s story. But how many have stepped back to actually think about it?

She had dedicated her life to being a great basketball player and was on her way toward becoming one of the best in the history of the sport. Yet, in an age where fans will live or die with every win or loss, she was able to step aside. She was able to recognize that, as much as she loves basketball, there are more important things under the sun.

The WNBA championships? Cool, but no championship trophy has ever helped to liberate an innocent man from imprisonment. The five All-WNBA First Team selections? Flattering, but her stat lines didn’t build her Win with Justice campaign. All those gold medals? An honor few on Earth can match, but they can’t end modern slavery a la the End It Movement, with which Moore has also worked.

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One thing all those accolades did for Moore, however, was provide her a platform that she realized she could leverage for more than winning more basketball games. It’s a platform that, thankfully, hundreds more athletes have recognized and used over the past few years to benefit causes important to them. Moore took it further than most because she knows that’s her purpose right now.

She decided it was the right choice to step aside from basketball in 2019. There were opportunities to return to the game, but as she dove deeper into the social justice movement, the urge to do so dissipated. As she said on Monday, “I wasn’t just sitting around wishing I was playing again. I just felt such a sense of purpose.”

Her college coach, Geno Auriemma, knows better than anyone the passion Moore has for basketball and the importance that family and justice hold for her as well. It’s why he said in a statement on Monday that he’s proud of her for the decision she made:

Maya Moore’s Career Resume

A year from now, Maya Moore will be eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame, and even the quickest look at her on-court accomplishments reveals her as more than worthy. Here’s just a sampling of what she’s done:


  • 2x National Player of the Year
  • 4x First Team All-American
  • 2x national champion
  • 2010 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player


  • 2011 WNBA Draft No. 1 pick
  • 2011 Rookie of the Year
  • 2014 scoring champion
  • 5x First Team All-WNBA
  • 6x All-Star
  • 4x WNBA champion (2011, ’13, ’15, ’17)
  • 2013 Finals MVP
  • 2014 WNBA MVP


  • 2x Olympic gold medalist (2012, ’16)
  • 2x FIBA World Championship winner (2010, ’14)
  • 2014 FIBA World Championship MVP
  • 2x EuroLeague Women champion (2012, ’18)

A resume like that makes it all the more amazing that she had the strength to recognize when it was right to step away. We all wanted to see Maya Moore play at the highest level again, but we could settle for seeing her in Springfield as she writes her next chapter away from the court.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.