WNBA Star Marries Man She Helped Free After Wrongful Conviction

Maya Moore, Jonathan Irons get their happily ever after
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2020 12:01 AM CDT
Updated Sep 17, 2020 4:44 AM CDT
WNBA Star Marries Man She Helped Free From Prison
In this March 9, 2020, file photo, Jefferson City, Mo., native Maya Moore, right, calls Jonathan Irons as supporters react in Jefferson City after Cole County Judge Dan Green overturned Irons' convictions in a 1997 burglary and assault case.   (Jeff Haldiman/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File)

(Newser) – Basketball star Maya Moore has married Jonathan Irons, the Missouri man she helped work to free from prison after a 22-year-old wrongful conviction, the AP reports. Moore, 31, and Irons, 40, appeared together on Good Morning America Wednesday to discuss their social justice efforts—and their relationship. Moore revealed that the two married this year, shortly after Irons was released on July 1. Moore, a two-time Olympian who won four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx, put her career on hold in 2019 to focus on ministry work, criminal justice system reform, and the specific case of Irons, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1998 as an 18-year-old on burglary and assault charges.

The case stemmed from a non-fatal shooting of a homeowner in the St. Louis area when Irons was 16, but a county judge ruled on March 9 that his defense provided enough evidence to prove his wrongful conviction. After Moore learned of his case and helped take up his cause, she and Irons developed a friendship on frequent visits to the prison; she first met him through a prison ministry program 13 years ago, when she was 18. Irons said in the ABC interview that he asked Moore to marry him before he was released but wanted her to wait to answer until he was out. The 31-year-old Moore said she wasn't sure yet about resuming her basketball career. This is the second straight WNBA season she's missing. “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.” (Read more Maya Moore stories.)

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