You’d have a tough time finding someone more accomplished than Maya Moore. Her extensive resume is highlighted by four titles in seven seasons, five All-Star selections, and an MVP award, already establishing her as one of the best to ever play the game. And she did all of that before the age of 29.
In addition to dominating on the court, she’s also proven to be incredibly influential off the court as one of the biggest stars in women’s basketball. She became the first female basketball player to sign a deal with the iconic Jordan Brand, where she’s received several successful player’s edition shoes and helped grow the women’s game with events like the Jordan Brand Classic for high school All-Americans.
We asked Maya Moore about winning championships, working with Jordan Brand, and what’s next for the superstar who’s already done it all.
Q: You won your fourth title last season. How does that compare to your previous championships?
A: “This past championship was one of the most challenging and satisfying experiences of my professional career. It’s just really unbelievable to think about four titles in seven years, and the group of people that I’ve been able to do that with. It’s been amazing.”
Q: You’ve won at every level: college, pros, and internationally. What’s your secret?
A: “There’s no question that I wouldn’t be who I am without the amazing teammates and coaches I’ve had. I’m really spoiled to have some of the best of the best to ever play the game or coach the game by my side through so many championship experiences. I’ve been so blessed to have talent and opportunity around me, but I try to make sure that I am as competitive as I can be in every situation. That’s a key ingredient to my success. Trying to compete at everything I can to make sure that I have a competitive advantage when I step onto the court.”
Q: What advice would you give to athletes who look up to you?
A: “First, surround yourself with quality people who understand and are trying to pursue the same things that you are. I had great people when I was a teenager and young adult that had been where I was trying to go and I could learn from them and grow in those years. I’d also say just understand how much work and sacrifice it is going to take to reach your goals and how sweet it is when at the end you can stand knowing you gave everything you had whether you won or lost. Continue to pursue your passion. Make sure you are cultivating that passion for the sport, for your team, for your craft – whatever it may be.”
Q: You’re one of the biggest names in the game now. What’s that been like?
A: “It’s really amazing to think about the platform that I have now as one of the top WNBA players.”
As an eight-year-old, Maya Moore would run sprints through the hallways before shooting on a mini hoop. Even at a young age, Moore knew the importance of training, and integrated it into her game. It’s that kind of dedication that has made her one of the top players in the history of college basketball, a WNBA MVP, and a winner at the college, professional, and international level.
Moore still incorporates conditioning into her shooting drills like she did when she was a little kid. The drills mimic game situations and are designed to cause fatigue, because Moore knows that she’s going to be tired in the fourth quarter and still needs to knock down shots. She’s always looking for an edge, and working on her shot while she’s already tired is one of her strategies for gaining an advantage in late-game situations.
Off the court, Moore’s training routine is all about keeping her on the court. With the WNBA playoffs coming up, she focuses on workouts designed to prevent injuries. She emphasizes high-rep, low-weight workouts that tone her body and maintain her strength. She pays extra attention to her lower body, working on leg strength to avoid common basketball injuries to the knees and ankles. She spends hours in the weight room because she doesn’t want anything to keep her from missing game time.
“I’ve tried to be very intentional about making sure my body is ready to go for every game, so recovery has been a big part of my routine,” she said.
That means frequent ice baths after workouts and a special focus on her diet so that she is refreshed and refueled for every game. She usually eats a pasta dish, salad, or a smoothie a few hours before a game so that she feels light and energized. It’s all part of the process that allows Moore to be at her best. She puts in as much work as possible ahead of time, so game day is simplified.
“Step out on the court, and it’s showtime,” she said.
When the stage is big and the lights are bright, Moore is a player who delivers. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has a stacked résumé that includes three WNBA titles, two NCAA titles, a WNBA scoring title, an MVP season, and four All-Star Game appearances. That doesn’t include her international play, where she’s won three more titles in China. Given her past success, it’s no surprise that Moore is again in the midst of another productive season on a team that’s hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“I just feel so privileged to be on an awesome team with great teammates and great coaches that all come to work every day with a lot of passion and joy for the game,” Moore said.
Moore has also found plenty of off-court success to go along with her on-court accomplishments. She’s becoming one of Jordan Brand’s most popular athletes, and she is the first female Jordan athlete to be on the Eastbay cover, which is special for a sneakerhead like Moore.
“Being on the cover of Eastbay is definitely big for me,” Moore said. “Growing up, I was always one of those kids looking at the Eastbay magazine, looking to see what shoes we are going to get this season, or what kind of gear is new that we can rock for the next upcoming school year. It was a part of my home, so I definitely have special feelings toward being on the cover.”
She’s also proud to be an ambassador for women’s basketball, using her success to inspire young female basketball players to pursue their passions and continue to expand the women’s game. If Moore’s success and popularity are any indication, big things are on the horizon for the WNBA.
“I think being a part of the WNBA, whether that’s as a fan or a player, it’s a better time than ever just because of how good the players have gotten,” Moore said. “We’ve grown in athleticism and the speed of the game – the versatility of the players on the court. The games have really been fun to compete in, so I’m excited about the direction that we’re moving in. I’ve been a fan of the WNBA since I was eight, and I still am to this day.”
Minnesota Lynx players celebrate their upcoming trip to the WNBA Playoffs.
words // Brandon Richard
A season ago, the Minnesota Lynx won just 13 games and found themselves on the outside looking in when the WNBA’s playoffs tipped off in August. Their lack of success, and a little luck in the draft lottery, enabled them to add standout Connecticut forward Maya Moore with the number one overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft. This season with Moore, Minnesota became the first team in the entire league to lock up a playoff spot after a lopsided 87-68 win last weekend.
Now looking to wrap up the number one seed in the Western Conference and clinch homecourt throughout the playoffs, the Lynx continued to roll this past week. On Tuesday, they got a game-high 18 points from Taj McWilliams-Franklin to push past the lowly Tulsa Shock 78-72. The Lynx then pushed their win streak to four games when Seimone Augustus poured in 19 points to help Minnesota pull out an 85-75 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars. Those same teams will play again in San Antonio today.
Moore’s contribution as a rookie has been key in Minnesota’s success, but everything hasn’t fallen on her shoulders. In fact, she’s arguably the third or fourth best player on a well-balanced team this season. Augustus leads the Lynx in scoring with 16.3 points per game; guard Lindsay Whalen is putting up 14.2 points and 5.9 assists per outing; and forward Rebekkah Brunson has pulled down a team-high average of 9.3 rebounds.
Can the Lynx go from playoff outsiders to WNBA Champions? Keep an eye on the league as we enter the final two weeks of the season.
In the meantime, you can find out what basketball shoes a few members of the Lynx and players from several other teams wore throughout the week in today’s WNBA Sneaker Watch.
Since Maya Moore is the most talked about incoming WNBA rookie since Candace Parker in 2008, it was only fitting that she began her professional career by taking on Candace and the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night. In front of a crowd of more than 13,500 people at Staples Center, Maya started her journey to female basketball greatness with a 21-point, 4-rebound and 4-assist effort against the Sparks. Behind Maya’s strong game the Lynx surged to a halftime lead, but couldn’t hold off a second half rally by Parker and the Sparks, who pulled out an 82-74 win in the opener.
“I was a little anxious, but I was excited to play,” Moore told ESPN. “It was just exciting when the game started and you start making the first couple of shots, get into a rhythm, and you realize this is still basketball.”
Much of the talk surrounding Maya in the early stages of her career is due to her history-making endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand. The first female basketball athlete to officially wear Jordan shoes, Maya revealed on her Twitter account yesterday that she’d begin her career playing in custom colorways of the Jordan Fly Wade. However, the picture she showed us was more than likely a pair we’ll see her wearing in home games. For this game, she warmed up in next week’s “Orion Blue” release and ended up playing in a grey-based “away” PE colorway.
Check out photos of Maya’s pro debut below and keep checking Eastbay for continued coverage of her rookie campaign.
Today, Jordan Brand announced the signing of #1 pick in the WNBA Draft, former UCONN star Maya Moore, as the latest people added to the Jordan team of athletes. Moore, who is one of the most well known and decorated athletes in the history of college basketball, becomes the first female to sign with Jordan Brand.
“I am thrilled to welcome Maya Moore into the Jordan Brand,” said Michael Jordan. “Not only has Maya proven to be a prolific winner on the court, but her hunger and determination to make an impact off the court makes her a valuable addition to the Jordan family. We look forward to working with Maya as she carries her success to the next level.”
At 6’0″ tall, Maya Moore led UCONN to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Along the way she led the Huskies to a record, 90 consecutive wins over her college career. While at Connecticut, the Huskies carried an unbelievable 150-4 record. Her list of achievements includes a pair of National Player of the Year awards one in 2010, one in 2011, three consecutive Academic All-American awards from 2009-2011, and four National All-American awards from 2008-2011.
Maya Moore’s career will begin its journey at the next level as a member of the Minnesota Lynx. The WNBA season begins in just a couple of weeks on June 3rd, where Moore will look to turn around the team, who finished last season with a 13-21 record.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see if Maya Moore will receive her own signature shoe, or enjoy the benefits of some of those sought-after player exclusive colorways Jordan Brand is so good at creating.