Maya April Moore (born June 11, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) who is on sabbatical. Naming her their inaugural Performer of the Year in 2017, Sports Illustrated called Moore the greatest winner in the history of women's basketball.
Moore was born on June 11, 1989, in Jefferson City, Missouri. She is the daughter of Kathryn Moore. Moore had her first exposure to basketball at the age of three when her mother mounted a hoop on the back door of their apartment. She attended Moreau Heights Elementary School as a child.
Moore led the Huskies to a 36–2 record in the 2007–08 NCAA season, their best record since their Final Four appearance of 2004. During the season, Moore averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game, and hit 42% of her three-point shots. Moore also placed second on the team in rebounds with 7.6 per game and blocks with 1.6 per game. She tallied double-figure points 36 times as a freshman including 13 20-plus game, posted 11 double-doubles and set UConn freshman records for points (678), field goals game (275), three-point field goals (73), while ranking among the top five on the rookie charts for scoring average (tied/4th – 13.8 ppg.), rebounds (2nd – 290), assists (5th – 116), steals (tied/6th – 63), and blocks (3rd – 59). Her 678 points broke the UConn single-season record for most points as a freshman (678) breaking the mark set by Svetlana Abrosimova, who had 538 in 1997–98, andbesting Tamara James (Miami, Fla.) previous BIG EAST Freshman record total of 650. She tied with Diana Taurasi with consecutive double-figure scoring record with 31 games. She ranked sixth among BIG EAST scoring leaders at 17.8 ppg, 11th among BIG-EAST rebounding leaders at 7.6 rpg, finished in seventh place among BIG-EAST field goal percentage leaders at .543, ranked fifth among BIG EAST's leaders in three-point field goal percentage at .420.
Maya Moore played for the Georgia Metros 16U Nike Travel Team in both 2005 and 2006. The Georgia Metros went 73–6 in those two travel seasons, and Maya led them to four National Championships: The AAU 16U National Championship in Orlando (where she was the MVP, as a 15-year-old) in 2005; the US Junior Nationals Championship in DC, twice, in both 2005 and 2006; and the Nike Nationals Championship in 2006. Notable teammates while with the Georgia Metros included Kelly Cain (Tennessee), Ashley Houts (Georgia), Alicia Manning (Tennessee), Morgan Toles (Auburn/FSU), Charenee Stephens (South Carolina), Taylor Turnbow (LSU), Jordan Greenleaf (Auburn), and D'Andra Moss (VCU).
Moore attended Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County, near Suwanee, Georgia. Moore was a four-year starter at Collins Hill High School, where she had a 125–3 record with the Eagles. Moore was named to the USA Today Freshman and Sophomore All-America Teams. During her junior year in 2005–06, averaged 23.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 5.4 steals as a junior at Collins Hill. Moore was named the Naismith Prep Player of the Year. She was only the second junior to win the Naismith award Her first dunk was one-handed off an alley-oop pass in warm-ups at a dunk contest in Charlotte, NC in December 2005. She was 16 at the time.
As a senior, she averaged 25.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.3 steals. In December 2006, she led the Collins Hill Eagles over Poly (Long Beach, California) by a score of 75–61, resulting in her being selected unanimously as the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament of Champions in Chandler, Arizona. In the title game of the "T-Mobile Invitational" in Seattle, she scored 48 points in a win over St. Elizabeth. Moore helped lead her high school to four consecutive state championships appearances, including three Georgia state titles and the 2007 National Championship. Moore is a three-time Georgia 5A Player of the Year and 2007 Miss Georgia Basketball. Moore finished as Collins High School's all-time leader in points (2,664) rebounds (1,212), assists (407) and steals (467).
In high school, Moore was the National Gatorade Player of the Year, the Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year, and a McDonald's All-American. She played forward for the UConn women's basketball team and won back to back national championships in 2009 and 2010. She was selected as the John Wooden Award winner in 2009 after leading Connecticut to an undefeated national championship. The following season, Moore led Connecticut to its second straight national championship and continued its overall undefeated streak at 78; in the 2010–11 season, she led the Huskies in extending that streak to an NCAA both-gender record (all divisions) of 90. That season, Moore became the first female basketball player to sign with Air Jordan. After the 2017 season, her win-loss record in the U.S. since high school was 497–78.
Moore was also an impressive college student: she graduated with a 3.7 GPA, earning the Elite 88 Award, and was named Cosida Academic All-America First-Team in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Cosida Academic All-America of the Year in 2010 and 2011 (1st player to ever repeat) and All-sports Academic All-America of the Year in 2011.
The USA National team began training in April 2010 to prepare for the FIBA World Championship starting in September 2010. Moore was one of the players selected for the training sessions, run by the national team coach Geno Auriemma. The teams played informal scrimmages, with one team made up of the players expected to be on the national team, and the other team made up of invited all star college players, referred to as the select team. Although Moore was still in college, she was invited to be part of the national team. In the first two ten-minute games, Moore played with the national team and helped them to two wins. Then Moore switched jerseys, and played for the select team. In both games, the select team won, with Moore making the assist to put the team ahead, then stealing the ball and making the game winning shot in the final seconds. Moore ended up being on the winning side in all four games.
Moore was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball. This game replaced the normal WNBA All-Star game with WNBA All-Stars versus USA Basketball, as part of the preparation for the FIBA World Championship for Women to be held in the Czech Republic during September and October 2010. Moore was selected to be a member of the National team representing the US at the World Championships held in September and October 2010. The team was coached by Geno Auriemma. Because many team members were still playing in the WNBA until just prior to the event, the team had only one day of practice with the entire team before leaving for Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Even with limited practice, the team managed to win its first games against Greece by 26 points. The team continued to dominate with victory margins exceeding 20 points in the first five games. Several players shared scoring honors, with Swin Cash, Angel McCoughtry, Moore, Diana Taurasi, Lindsay Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles all ending as high scorer in the first few games. The sixth game was against undefeated Australia — the USA jumped out to a 24-point lead and the USA prevailed 83–75. The USA won its next two games by over 30 points, then faced the host team, the Czech Republic, in the championship game. The USA team had only a five-point lead at halftime, which was cut to three points, but the Czechs never got closer. Team USA went on to win the championship and gold medal. Moore averaged 8.7 points per game.
During the playoffs, Moore was her team's second-leading scorer. She led her team in scoring once, in the final game of the Western Conference finals, when she poured in 21 points, including six three-pointers. In October 2011, Maya became only the second player in league history to win Rookie of the Year honors and a WNBA championship in the same year.
In 2012, Moore helped the Lynx begin the season with a 10–0 run, the best start in WNBA history. The Lynx went on to equal 2011's 27–7 mark, finishing as the top seed in the WNBA Playoffs for a second straight year. The Lynx advanced to the 2012 WNBA Finals, for the second straight season, but fell to the Indiana Fever. In 2013, Moore elevated her game, she led the Lynx in points, and became the first player in WNBA history to lead the league in both three-point field goals and three-point shooting percentage. Moore was twice selected WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month, and three times selected WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week. Meanwhile, the Lynx once again had the best record in the WNBA, finishing 26–8. The Lynx swept through the playoffs, winning their second WNBA championship. Moore was named WNBA Finals MVP, leading her team in scoring two of the three games in the Finals.
In 2012, Moore signed with the Chinese club Shanxi Flame, playing under Spanish coach Lucas Mondelo. It was the club's first year in the Women's Chinese Basketball Association, and they started the season 0–2 with American import Ebony Hoffman. As soon as Moore arrived and replaced Hoffman (since the league only allows 1 non-Asian player per team), the team won 10 in a row. In her third game, she had 60 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 5 steals against Yunnan. Moore finished her first season in Shanxi averaging 37.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game, leading the Flame to the championship in a 3–1 series over Zhejiang.
Moore was one of 21 finalists for the U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team Roster. The 20 professional women's basketball players, plus one collegiate player (Brittney Griner), were selected by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee to compete for the final roster to represent the US at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Moore won a gold medal with Team USA in 2012, in doing so joining Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Ruth Riley, Tamika Catchings and fellow UConn alums Kara Wolters, Swin Cash, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi on the elite list of female basketball players to have won NCAA titles, WNBA Championships and Olympic gold medals.
Moore was the first overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft and joined a Minnesota Lynx team that already featured all-star caliber players in Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, and Lindsay Whalen. Since 2011, Moore has continued to excel, both with the Lynx and with overseas teams in Europe and China. Moore has won four WNBA championships (2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017), a WNBA Most Valuable Player Award (2014), a WNBA Finals MVP Award (2013), three WNBA All-Star Game MVPs (2015, 2017, and 2018), two Olympic gold medals (2012 and 2016), a WNBA Scoring Title (2014), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2011). She has also been selected to four WNBA All-Star teams and three All-WNBA teams. In 2012, she won both the Spanish league title and EuroLeague title playing for Ros Casares Valencia. From 2013 to 2015, Moore also won the Chinese league title every year. Moore won a second Euroleague title playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in 2018.
In 10 EuroLeague Women games, Moore averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists, helping Ros Casares win its first ever EuroLeague championship on April 1, 2012.
On October 28, 2013, Moore was featured as Betty Lou in "Uncle Drew: Chapter 3" of the Pepsi Max series of advertisements written and directed by Kyrie Irving. She is the first WNBA player to be a part of the series and alongside 'Lights' played by Nate Robinson and 'Uncle Drew' played by Irving, they hustle a courtyard of young players at Seward Park in Chicago, Illinois.
Moore was one of 33 finalists for the U.S. Women's FIBA World Championship for Women Roster. The 32 professional women's basketball players, plus one collegiate player (Breanna Stewart) were selected by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee to compete for the final roster to represent the US at the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey during September and October 2014. Moore made the final roster of 12 players, announced on September 23, 2014. Moore won the gold medal with the team in 2014, having now won 3 gold medals with the U.S. team. She was named to the all-tournament team and won the tournament MVP award.
In the fourth game of the 2014 season, Moore set a new WNBA record by scoring 30 or more points in four consecutive games. On July 22, 2014, Maya scored a career-high 48 points, the second highest single-game total in WNBA history. She also had another 40-point game just a week later. She then set a WNBA record by scoring 30+ points in twelve games in one season. She would end up averaging a career-high 23.9 points per game and for the first time in her career, Moore won the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award. Minnesota entered the playoffs as the number 2 seed in the Western Conference. They had a record of 25–9, the 2nd best record in the Western Conference and also the entire WNBA. They played the number 3 seed of the Western Conference, the San Antonio Stars, in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lynx swept the Stars 2–0. Then they faced the number 1 overall seeded Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals. They lost Game 1 85-71, as Maya scored fewer than 10 points for the first and only time the entire season. But in Game 2, she rebounded with 32 points and led her team to an 82–77 victory. They played in Phoenix for the 3rd and final game, and lost 96–78, failing to make the WNBA Finals for the 1st time in 4 seasons.
Maya Moore's professional career, like her high school and college career, has been filled with championships. In her first three years, she made three WNBA finals, one Eurobasket final, and two WCBA finals, and won five of the six possible championships she could have. Along the way, she has established herself as one of the best professional women's players in the game. In 2015, she won the WNBA All-Star MVP award. This makes her one of only two players, the other being Lisa Leslie, who have won the MVP award for the WNBA regular-season, the WNBA finals, and the All-Star game.
Prior to the 2015 season, Moore re-signed with the Lynx to a multi-year deal once her rookie contract expired. In the 2015 season, Moore was named to the 2015 WNBA All-Star Game and was awarded MVP after scoring a WNBA All-Star Game record, 30 points. Midway through the season, the Lynx had traded for Sylvia Fowles to bolster the Lynx's roster at the center position. The Lynx were first place in the Western Conference, advanced all the way to the finals and won its third WNBA championship in five years by beating the Indiana Fever, three games to two. One of the memorable highlights of the finals was in Game 3 where Moore hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. She was also named to the All-WNBA First Team in 2015.
In 2016, Moore was chosen to the WNBA Top 20@20, a list of the league's best 20 players ever in celebration of the WNBA's twentieth anniversary. She was the youngest of the 20 winners. During the 2016 season, Moore averaged 19.3 points per game and the Lynx remained a potent, championship contending team, finishing with a new franchise best 28–6 record. With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Lynx were the number 1 seed in the league with a double-bye to the semi-finals (the last round before the WNBA Finals) facing the Phoenix Mercury. The Lynx defeated the Mercury in a 3-game sweep, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the fifth time in six years. The Lynx were up against the Los Angeles Sparks, making it the second time in league history where two teams from the same conference faced each other in the Finals due to the new playoff format. During a loss in Game 1, Moore passed Diana Taurasi for most points scored in WNBA Finals history (262). Facing a 2–1 deficit, Moore took over in Game 4, scoring a game-high 31 points to lead the Lynx to an 85–79 win, forcing a Game 5. The Lynx would end up losing Game 5 77–76 off a game-winning shot by Nneka Ogwumike as the Sparks became 2016 WNBA Champions.
In the 2017 season, Moore was voted into the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her fifth all-star game appearance. Moore won her second All-Star MVP award after scoring a team-high 23 points for the Western Conference All-Stars team in a 130–121 victory. With Fowles being the more focal point of the Lynx's offense, Moore would be the second highest scoring player on the team with 17.3 ppg. On August 12, 2017, the Lynx made history as they defeated the Indiana Fever 111–52, marking it the largest margin of victory in WNBA history, they also exploded on a league record 37–0 scoring run during the game. The Lynx once again finished as the number 1 seed in the league with a 27–7 record, receiving a double-bye to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the Lynx defeated the Washington Mystics in a 3-game sweep, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the sixth time in seven years, setting up a rematch with the Sparks. The Lynx would avenge last season's Finals loss defeating the Sparks in five games to win their fourth WNBA championship in seven years, tying the now-defunct Houston Comets for most championship titles.
On January 2, 2018, Russian basketball club UMMC Ekaterinburg announced that Maya Moore had joined their team for the remainder of the 2017/2018 EuroLeague season. Moore would go on to average 20.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists with UMMC. UMMC would win each of their final six games of the regular season. On April 22, UMMC won the EuroLeague Championship, with Moore scoring 17 points, dishing out 7 assists, and recording 4 steals in the final game.
On July 22, 2018, Moore scored a season-high 38 points in an 80–75 victory over the Mercury. In the 2018 season, Moore was voted into the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game and would win her third All-Star MVP award, after leading Team Parker to a 119–112 victory with 18 points. Moore led the team in scoring with 18 ppg as the Lynx finished with number 7 seed with an 18–16 record. This was first time in 8 years where the Lynx did not finish as a top 2 seed in the league. They would face off against the Los Angeles Sparks in the first round elimination game, they lost 75–68, ending their run of three consecutive finals appearances.
Influenced by her godparents, Moore advocates for prosecutorial reform in the American justice system. Specifically, she pressed for the release of Jonathan Irons from the Jefferson City correctional center. Irons was serving a 50 year sentence begun when he was 16 years old. Moore took a sabbatical from basketball in 2019 and 2020, hoping to secure his release. Irons was released July 1, 2020. In September 2020, Moore told "Good Morning America" that she and Irons had gotten married "a couple of months ago".
In February 2019, Moore wrote for The Players' Tribune that she would miss the upcoming season to focus on family and ministry dreams. In January 2020, she announced that she would once again miss the upcoming WNBA season as well as the 2020 Olympic games in order to focus on her advocacy for criminal justice reform.