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Maya Moore to sit out second-straight season in 2020

The former UConn megastar will miss the WNBA season and the Olympics.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After spending all of 2019 away from basketball, Maya Moore plans to do so again in 2020. The former UConn women’s basketball superstar will sit out the upcoming WNBA season and will forgo participation in the 2020 Olympics in order to focus on criminal justice reform, according to an interview with the New York Times.

“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything,” Moore told the paper. “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.”

Over the past year, Moore has been working to secure the release of Jonathan Irons, a man she believes to be wrongly incarcerated for burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun during a break-in back in 1997.

Along with that, Moore also doesn’t appear to have a strong desire to return to basketball, at least not now. She cited the grind of competing year-round in order to maximize earnings as a major factor in her decision to step away last year in addition to her personal goals.

At the same time, Moore also feels like she doesn’t have much more to strive for in the game. She won a pair of national championships at UConn, was drafted No. 1 overall, won four WNBA titles, a 2014 WNBA MVP award and gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“I have had such a unique experience in the game,” Moore said in the story. “I got to experience the best of my craft, and I did that multiple times. There is nothing more I wish I could experience.”

While Moore’s absence from the game will extend to another year, she came up short of announcing her retirement from the game entirely. However, she didn’t exactly sound like someone that is certain to be back, either.

“I don’t feel like this is the right time for me to retire,” she said. “Retirement is something that is a big deal and there is a right way to do it well, and this is not the time for me.”