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The most notable US athletes of 2020: No 6 – Maya Moore

The basketball star did not play a professional game this year, and yet she achieved arguably the most important victory of her career

Maya Moore’s basketball credentials are unimpeachable. She is a four-time WNBA champion, two-time EuroLeague winner, six-time WNBA All-Star and has two Olympic gold medals. In 2017, Sports Illustrated described her as the greatest winner in the history of women’s basketball. And yet the 31-year-old Moore, still in her peak playing years, didn’t play a professional game in 2020. So why is she on this list? Because her year off the court has been incredible.

In 2019 she announced she would take a sabbatical from her WNBA career – and the grind of the basketball circuit – to fight the case of Jonathan Irons, a man who argued that he had been falsely convicted of burglary and assault charges. Those charges ended with Irons being given a 50-year prison sentence for a crime he had allegedly committed when he was 16. Moore’s career break was, to put it mildly, a little more high stakes than Michael Jordan’s decision to step away from the NBA to play baseball. And while Moore earned decent money – particularly during her spells in Europe and China – she did not have the financial security Jordan enjoyed when he temporarily left the Chicago Bulls.

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