WNBA star Maya Moore has married the man she helped free from prison.
Moore was in the prime of her playing days when she paused her basketball career at the age of 30 in February 2019 to work on the campaign to free Jonathan Irons. Irons, who is now 40, had been serving a 50-year prison sentence over the shooting of a homeowner during a robbery when Irons was 16. A judge ruled in March that prosecutors had suppressed fingerprint evidence that could have helped prevent Irons being found guilty, and he was freed in July.
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we’ve been doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore told Good Morning America. “We’re excited to share this new chapter of life together.”
Moore said the two had met through a prison ministry program when she was 18 and their relationship had become deeper over time. They married earlier this summer.
.@MooreMaya announced she has married Jonathan Irons, the man she put her career on hold for to help free from prison following his wrongful conviction 23 years ago ❤️— ESPN (@espn) September 16, 2020
(via @GMA) pic.twitter.com/7mwKcaU0iz
“Over the last 13 years we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts and now we’re sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together,” she said.
Irons proposed to Moore once he had been freed, although he said he knew he wanted to marry her while he was still in prison.
“I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it’s extremely difficult and painful,” he said. “And I didn’t want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”
Moore won Olympic gold for the USA at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and is one of the most gifted players of her generation. After a stellar college career at the University of Connecticut, the Minnesota Lynx made her the No 1 overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft. She repaid that faith by helping the team to four WNBA titles while being named league MVP in 2014. She has also had a successful career in Europe, where she has won continental titles with teams from Spain and Russia.
Moore has not said whether she will return to basketball in the future. “I am trying to really just breathe from this long, long battle,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of unknowns for a lot of us right now. So I’m still in that camp.”