Maya Moore, an American professional basketball player and WNBA Minnesota Lynx player, was once praised by Sports Illustrated as “the greatest in the history of women’s basketball Winner”; however, at the peak of her career, she temporarily left the stadium and dedicated herself to justice for an unjust victim. This important news once shocked the sports world.
Recently, a new 30 for 30 documentary tells the full story behind it, how a young female basketball star met, knew and cherished each other with an unjustly imprisoned teenager, and how Jonathan miraculously be released twenty years later. The documentary also reported how the Christian faith of Maya and spiritual family members was the driving force behind all this.
When Jonathan Irons was only 18 years old, he was sentenced to prison for an adult burglary with a lethal weapon. Although there was no physical evidence to prove his connection to the crime scene, and the case was full of loopholes, he was still sentenced to 50 years in prison. Maya was only 8 years old when Jonathan was arrested.
Jonathan met Hugh Flowers, the conductor who volunteered to lead the choir at the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri. After Hugh’s daughter Cheri and son-in-law Reggie Williams learned of Jonathan’s story, Reggie was moved to review Jonathan’s case. During the investigation, he began to suspect that Jonathan might have been wronged. Regis is very persistent and devotes countless time to researching cases in his spare time.
Reggie and Terry are the godfather and godmother of Maya. Despite the pressure and expectations of becoming the best player in the WNBA, Maya stepped away from the sport in 2019 to help fight for Jonathan. In the story, Maya’s faith played a key role. Maya understands her value in God. If Maya tie her value to basketball, this good thing of helping others will not happen, and Jonathan may never get freedom. Through prayer, praise, and glory to God in the film, we also can see there are deep spiritual habits of Maya and her family.
In the speech at the 2021 ESPYS, Maya said, “One of the most freeing things I’ve come to realize is that I’m a creative being wonderfully made In God’s image and that means I don’t have to define myself, but my all-knowing all-loving all-powerful creator has designed me for a beautiful purpose, I’m sure I’m not alone in wrestling with the question of what it means to be human and for me…”
“Sacrifice is one of the most compelling aspects of sports, the sacrifice of comfort for a greater level of skill, the sacrifice it takes to work together as a team so everyone can shine in their gifts, these sacrifices we make in sports are great, but I would invite you to see them as just pointers to the sacrifices of life that matter most, the ones that are centered around helping each other live to the fullest sacrificing, the power you have to humanize someone else, power is not meant to be gripped with a clenched fist or to be hoarded, but power is meant to be handled generously, so we can thoughtfully empower one another to thrive in our communities for love’s sake, championing our humanity before our ambitions.” She said.
She once said: “Although I have received many awards and honors, it is really insignificant compared to what the Lord has done to me and what He has done for the world… God used me in a way that I didn’t know. I’m still learning how to follow God’s will…I want to use my life to practice it.”