Maya Moore, Jonathan Irons announce birth of first son 2 years after 4-time champion helped free Irons from prison

·4-min read

The happy blessings for Maya Moore continue. Moore and her husband, Jonathan Irons, welcomed a son in February and made the announcement to the world via "Good Morning America" on Tuesday.

Moore, a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, shared the video on her Instagram page hours later. The announcement comes almost two years to the day after Irons walked out of a Missouri prison a free man with the help of Moore and her family.

The parents named their child, Jonathan Hughston Irons Jr. Moore, 33, wrote on Instagram:

"Marrying Jonathan was one of the happiest days of my life!

Delivering JJ was one of the proudest days of my life!

Witnessing Jonathan be a Father ... Priceless"

Moore, Irons family story

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 09: Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons attend the Backstage Creations Celebrity Suite at the ESPYS at Mr. C Seaport on July 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bonnie Biess/FilmMagic for Backstage Creations)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 09: Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons attend the Backstage Creations Celebrity Suite at the ESPYS at Mr. C Seaport on July 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bonnie Biess/FilmMagic for Backstage Creations)

Moore met Irons through a prison ministry she was in with extended family in Missouri while she was playing for UConn. They formed a close friendship and she learned the details of his case.

At 16, Irons was tried and convicted as an adult for a burglary that resulted in the victim being shot inside his own home in 1998. He was arrested on burglary and assault charges, but records show the victim was unable to identify Irons in a lineup. There was no fingerprints, DNA or blood evidence. The jury was all-white and there was no video or audio recordings of a confession the police alleged Irons made to the crime. Irons maintained his innocence.

Moore stepped away from the WNBA in 2019 for social justice pursuits, she said at the time. She later shared Irons' story and details on how she and her family were working with lawyers to have him freed.

The conviction was overturned in March 2020. Missouri judge Daniel Green wrote the case was "very weak and circumstantial at best." After a pair of appeals failed and a lead prosecutor declined to retry the case, Irons was freed.

They announced they were married shortly afterward during an interview with "Good Morning America" in September 2020. And last July their story was shown to the nation in a "30 for 30" installment by ESPN. The notoriously private Moore opened her home to cameras in what director Rudy Valdez told Yahoo Sports was "not a salacious story, it’s not a sensationalized story. It’s a human story."

Will Moore return to the WNBA?

Moore led the Lynx to four championships in seven years and was a professional for only eight before taking a leave. She's largely viewed as one of the greatest to play the game anMd was named to the W25 for the greatest 25 players in league history released last year. She has not yet formally retired and has seemingly left the door open for a return, but only slightly.

She took 2020 off ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which were later pushed back to the summer of 2021 because of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Later that year, after announcing they had wed, Moore told GMA she wasn't ready to commit to anything until spring. And in March 2021 she said she would not return to the W for that season.

"This journey has been quite wild, so I'm still trying to take that time to really get settled," Moore said on GMA that year. "We just got married. I'm still planning on taking some rest and really just leaning in to this season of enjoying Jonathan and having this full year."

Moore remained noncommittal in the documentary that aired later that year and certainly planning for a baby came into play. She is listed on the Lynx roster as "suspended — contract expired" by Her Hoop Stats.

If she were to plan a return and come back to the Lynx, Minnesota could see little Jonathan on the sidelines with a play mate. Napheesa Collier, a UConn alumna who was drafted by the Lynx in 2019, gave birth to a baby girl in May. She has said she is trying to return this year.