By Jeffrey Newholm
With the Super Bowl rather dull, headlines before and after the Big Game focused on big NBA stories. But no sooner had Greg Zuerlein’s kick sailed wide than Maya Moore, four-time WNBA champion and 2014 MVP, dropped her M Bomb.
I will not be playing professional basketball this year. https://t.co/cVUO9Uhjd0
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) February 5, 2019
Granted, Diana Taurasi, a similarly talented player, did recently sit out a year as well. But the circumstances are much more notable now. Taurasi earns a seven-figure sum playing in Russia and made even more by not playing in Phoenix. But there seems to be no smoking gun flagging a reason for Moore. Minnesota and the WNBA universally love her. In my estimation, she’s unsurpassed in professionalism and class in pro basketball. So what led to the shocking absence from a now floundering dynasty?
Those with certain Facebook friends know inter-evangelism can become annoying. But Moore’s faith is softly spoken and unquestionably sincere. In her Players Tribune article, she states, “my no for the 2019 pro season allows me to say yes to my family and faith family like I never have before”. Moore is an outspoken advocate for racial justice and reform in the US but hasn’t received as much press as the more blunt Liz Camabge and Brittney Griner. Now’s the perfect time to go on a deciding run.
JUST A GAME?
It may be heresy to some fans, and hard for this writer to admit, but basketball is just a game. But maybe a bit more. Success, especially if earned authentically, gives athletes a higher platform to potentially advocate for a better world. Of course, players such as LeBron, Steph Curry, and Moore are so good usually we focus on the basketball. But the ball will keep bouncing even if a hero recharges and recommits in an always troubled world where the villains never rest. Maya Moore will be back even stronger next year, but first: there’s a world’s soul to win.