Four-time WNBA champion and league MVP Maya Moore announced that she and her husband Jonathan Irons welcomed the birth of their first child in February, a boy Jonathan Hughston Irons Jr. Moore allowed the news to break on “Good Morning America” in an interview with host Robin Roberts. The ABC morning show also broke the news of the couple’s marriage.
Moore helped Irons overturn his wrongful conviction after he spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
She met Irons with her family through a prison ministry shortly before her freshman year at the University of Connecticut in 2007. While dominating on the basketball court, she and Irons remained in contact and developed a bond.
In 2019 Moore was the best basketball player in the world. She’d won WNBA and EuroLeague championships. She was an MVP, seven-time All-WNBA, and six-time All-Star. But something else was calling her, so she put her career on pause to advocate for change in the criminal justice system and to work closely on Irons’ appeal.
“My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball, but will instead be on the people in my family,” Moore wrote in The Player’s Tribune. “As well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.”
Irons was convicted in 1998 as an adult at 16 years old by an all-white jury for a burglary and shooting of Stanley Stotler.
In March 2020 Missouri judge, Daniel Green, vacated Iron’s conviction and cited a series of problems with the way the case had been investigated and tried. Judge Green wrote in his ruling, that the case against Irons was “very weak and circumstantial at best.”
“I feel like I can live life now,” Irons said in 2020. “I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence. “I thank everybody who supported me — Maya and her family.”
When Irons was released in July of 2020, he and Moore wed fairly quickly. In an appearance on “Good Morning America” in September of that year, Moore said she and Irons were already married.
At 33 it’s unlikely Moore plays again. Though as a devout Christian, if she believes that’s what God wants her to do, she’ll gladly suit up again. Right now, motherhood and married life is calling.
If Moore never plays again her legacy is already well established. One of the greatest women’s basketball players ever.
On Tuesday Moore tweeted:
“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“
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😭 pic.twitter.com/hD1v8m1QAr
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) July 6, 2022
Going forward it will be interesting to see how Moore and Irons choose to continue to advocate for criminal justice reform, prison reform, prosecutorial changes, etc.
How will their story inspire others to join the fight? Will they ever be on the ground again for specific cases involving wrongful convictions? They certainly would be a powerful voice in the fight.
Moore and Irons’ love story was documented in “Breakaway,” a film produced by Robin Roberts and ESPN’s “30 for 30.”