Lynx star Maya Moore announces she'll sit out 2019 WNBA season

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<a href="https://sports.yahoo.com/wnba/players/4748/" data-ylk="slk:Maya Moore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/4748/" data-ylk="slk:Maya Moore">Maya Moore</a></a> announced she will take a year off in 2019. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
Maya Moore announced she will take a year off in 2019. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

One of the most successful basketball players in the game will sit out the 2019 professional season.

Maya Moore, a forward for the Minnesota Lynx, confirmed in an announcement Tuesday that she will sit out the upcoming WNBA season. It begins May 24.

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In a short piece for The Player’s Tribune, Moore writes:

My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball, but will instead be on the people in my family, as well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.

I will certainly miss the day-to-day relationships with my teammates and basketball family this season, but my no for the 2019 pro season allows me to say yes to my family and faith family like I never have before.

Moore, 29, is a four-time WNBA champion, two-time NCAA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. She went 125-3 in her high school career and led UConn to its historic win streak.

Moore leaving for God, family

Moore’s status with the Lynx has been the subject of reports for a few weeks. Lynx general manager and head coach Cheryl Reeve told the Minnesota Star Tribune she had long been aware Moore was considering a sabbatical.

“What this is all about for us now, as a franchise, as a Lynx family, we need to give her the support she needs,” Reeve said. “That’s all we can do for her. There have been times in all of our lives when we felt the pull toward something. And Maya had the courage to act on it. At this point we’ll cheer her on and provide the love and support we always have.”

Moore started a non-profit called “Win With Justice” and spoke extensively in December with The Fenom Effect, a Nike podcast, about the team’s social justice work and her personal work in the area. The description of the pod alludes to Moore’s decision: “Her wins on the court helped her realize her purpose off the court.”

She wrote for The Player’s Tribune that she measures success in her life by asking “Am I living out my purpose?”

Moore won the WNBA MVP in 2014 and the Finals MVP in 2013. She owns a long list of awards, both in college and professionally. She has two EuroLeague titles and and a championship in Liga Femenina, the first tier level women’s pro league in Spain. A member of the 2011 draft class, she is expected to sign a new multiyear deal with the Lynx.

Perennial contenders lose another veteran

Minnesota won titles in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. They’ll go into next season without Moore and retired guard Lindsay Whalen, the new Minnesota Gophers coach.

Rebekkah Brunson is still considering if she’ll return. If she doesn’t, that’s three lost starters from the latest championship years.

“Maya is one of the best players to play in the WNBA,” Reeve said. “And her absence will be felt.”

Moore will be placed on the suspended list, according to the Star Tribune, which will free up a maximum salary to spend on a different player. The Lynx hold the sixth overall pick in the April draft.

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