Minnesota Lynx superstar Maya Moore announced via a vague essay on the Players’ Tribune this afternoon that she would be taking the year off from professional basketball. “My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball,” she wrote, “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.”
Moore has won four championships and has been both the league’s MVP and the Finals MVP during her eight-year run with the Lynx. However, she has reportedly been disgruntled with the team this offseason, with WCCO reporting on Jan. 17 that she was considering sitting out the season. That report surfaced just days after the Lynx named her a “core player,” which gave them exclusive negotiating rights for her next contract. The “core player” designation is a more restrictive version of the NFL’s franchise tag, and applying it prevents Moore from hitting the open market.
In a statement, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said:
“As she recently shared, Maya has expressed a need to shift her attention more fully to family and ministry dreams in a way that she has been unable to as a professional basketball player. We support her in this exploration and will continue to provide her the love and care she has always known from her Lynx family.”
Moore did not address reports of her discontent with the Lynx, and both her and the team’s statements paint her decision more as an issue of Moore needing to rest and step away from basketball. Several other WNBA stars have taken time off in years past. Low salaries often require women to work overseas in the WNBA offseason; last year, Moore won the EuroLeague with UMMC Ekaterinburg shortly before the WNBA season began. She also chose to sit out international competition this winter.