The WNBA will be without one of its biggest stars for the second consecutive season.

Four-time WNBA champion and women's basketball superstar Maya Moore will sit out of the 2020 WNBA season to help free a prisoner who she believes was wrongfully convicted of burglary and assault, according to reporting from The New York Times .

At 16 years old, Jonathan Irons was accused of burglarizing a home in the suburbs of St. Louis and assaulting the homeowner with a gun. He was subsequently convicted by an all-white jury a

maya moore
maya moore
Jim Mone/AP

nd sentenced to 50 years in prison all based on eyewitness testimony absent of corroborating witnesses, fingerprints, footprints, DNA, or blood evidence, according to Irons' attorneys.

Moore met Irons when she visited the Jefferson City Correctional Center in her Missouri hometown back in 2017. A black woman with a deep commitment to criminal justice, Moore was immediately drawn to Irons and his story. She has advocated for Irons' appeal ever since, helping to pay for his defense team and regularly showing up at court in-person to show her support, per The Times.

"Basketball has not been foremost in my mind," Moore told The Times. "I've been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I've been able to be there for Jonathan."

maya moore olympics.JPG
maya moore olympics.JPG
Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

In addition to missing the WNBA season, Moore has removed herself from consideration for the USA Basketball Women's National Team that will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer. Both the national team and the Minnesota Lynx her WNBA club will undoubtedly feel her absence. The six-time WNBA All-Star has averaged 18.4 points per game over her eight seasons in the league, leading the Lynx to championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Additionally, Moore poured in 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds to help the US to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016.

Whether the small forward returns to the hardwood in a professional capacity remains to be seen. Moore has been one of the biggest names in women's basketball since winning back-to-back national championships with the UConn Huskies in 2009 and 2010 and has heretofore resisted labeling her hiatus as retirement.

"I don't feel like this is the right time for me to retire," she told The Times. "Retirement is something that is a big deal, and there is a right way to do it well, and this is not the time for me."

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