WNBA star forward Maya Moore announced Tuesday that she will be stepping away from her thriving career for a season to spend time reflecting on God’s purpose for her life. Moore’s decision, which she discussed in an article for The Players Tribune, comes when the 29-year-old Minnesota Linx player is at the top of her game.
I will not be playing professional basketball this year. https://t.co/cVUO9Uhjd0
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) February 5, 2019
“There are different ways to measure success. The success that I’ve been a part of in basketball truly blows my mind every time I think about it. But the main way I measure success in life is something I don’t often get to emphasize explicitly through pro ball,” she wrote.
“I measure success by asking, ‘Am I living out my purpose?’” she continued. “I learned a long time ago that my purpose is to know Jesus and to make Him known.”
Moore mentioned the Bible verse she includes in her autographs, Colossians 3:23, which reads: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord … .”
“My announcement is about how I’m shifting the focus to the whatever,” she explained. “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.”
And while she will “certainly miss” the camaraderie and support of her teammates and coach, Moore noted that “my no for the 2019 pro season allows me to say yes to my family and faith family like I never have before.”
How has her team responded?
In a radio interview Tuesday, Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve voiced her support for Moore, while also discussing the real challenges ahead as the Lynx begin a new season without their star player.
“There’s so many stops and starts and pulls of Maya’s time that she got to this place where she said you know I’ve tried everything and this is really important to me and she did not feel like she was living her truest life and her fullest life,” Reeve told KFXN-FM’s Dan Barreiro, as reported by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “Just really kind of had the mind-set that I need to do this, I need to try this, and let’s figure out in this path of how we can kind of bring it back together. So she needs to go explore that, and we’ll support her in every way possible.”
The Lynx just lost their now-retired point guard Lindsay Whalen. Without Moore, the team’s future remains unclear.
“No question that Maya has been one of the greatest players that our league has seen, and certainly one of the all-time greats in our franchise’s history,” Reeve said. “Yeah, it’s certainly going to be a different path for us this year in terms of figuring out the things Maya did for us on the court, how collectively, we can sort of navigate our way through.”
Reeve noted that Moore’s announcement was not not a surprise for her or any of the Lynx players.
“In typical fashion, our team, for us, it’s way more than basketball,” she explained. “We always say this is life, and we’re in it for life. We certainly have had a lot of contact with Maya, along with our other players, so we’re very aware of sort of their hopes and dreams and what makes them tick, so no, at no time was this a surprise for us if you know Maya.”
Moore’s Nick Foles moment
Moore’s bold willingness to lay down her successful athletic career for her faith is reminiscent of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, whose obedience to Christ almost led him to retire before his triumphant Super Bowl win.
Sharing with You Version’s Bible app devotional back in 2017, Foles spoke for the first time about how close he got to hanging up his jersey for good.
“A lot of people don’t know this — I’m going to share this right now, because I think it’s important. After my time with a certain NFL team, I wanted to retire,” Foles said. “This was a year ago. I wanted to retire from the NFL, and I really struggled. I couldn’t pick up a football for about eight months. I had no love for the game, and it was tough.”
Foles then revealed that it was a powerful time of prayer and connection to the Lord that brought him back from the brink of retirement.
“I kept reading Scripture, I kept praying, I kept asking God — and so many of us ask God for signs, we ask God, ‘Hey, please just put it on the wall, like, I want to know,’ but that’s not how it works,” he said. “He’s not always going to do that. He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees.”
Foles shared from 2 Corinthians 12:9, detailing how that helped him in his decision to return to the NFL. The verse reads:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Foles explained that choosing to return to football was the “greatest decision I ever made because of what I went through” and that it gave him a “completely reinvigorated outlook on the game.”
God bless Maya Moore as she enters this new season of life. Her selfless devotion will certainly not go unnoticed.