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Clippings: WNBA star Maya Moore makes a difference

Plus, NBA title chatter and gearing up for the restart.

Connecticut Sun Vs Minnesota Lynx Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Maya Moore is a superstar, one of the brightest lights in the WNBA and a player from that league you’ve probably heard of even if you don’t follow it closely.

I wanted to start Clippings today with her recent exploits because they are remarkable.

You may or may not have heard that Moore, a perennial All-Star, former WNBA MVP and four-time WNBA champion for the Minnesota Lynx, sat out last season in part because she wanted to work on correctional justice reform. In particular, Moore sought to help free a man named Jonathan Irons, wrongly convicted as a 16 year old on charges of burglary and assault with a weapon, who served 22 years of a 40-year sentence.

Irons and Moore had ties to the same hometown, and Moore learned of Irons’ case from her godfather, but her quest to free a person she wasn’t related to, when she was living the life of a star athlete, racking up honors, is extraordinary.

And on Wednesday, Irons was released from prison after his convictions were vacated in March. Moore was on hand to welcome Irons back to society. It’s incredibly emotional to watch.

Until recently, the thought of putting your career, particularly a pro sports career, on hold to fight to free someone who had been wrongly imprisoned, was unthinkable. Moore is in some ways a pioneer for those NBA players looking to get more involved in social activism since the killing of George Floyd, and seeing one of her objectives, which changes one person’s life for the better in a remarkable way, should be inspiration for others who want to fight for change.

You can read more about Moore’s quest away from basketball in this long feature on ESPN that dropped before Irons was released from prison.

More news for Thursday:

  • Green picks Lakers over Clippers: Draymond Green said he switched from favoring the Clippers to win the NBA title to the Lakers because of LeBron James. I’m guessing most Clippers fans don’t care too much about Green’s opinion anyway, but some bulletin board material for Doc Rivers? Don’t count it out.
  • NBA bubble costs $150 million: ESPN reports that’s the cost of the tournament and security and stuff. Hope it’s worthwhile!
  • Nuggets shut down training facility: Coronavirus continues to be a thing around the NBA, with two Denver Nuggets personnel reportedly testing positive and forcing the shutdown of their training facility, while three New Orleans Pelicans players have tested positive. The Clippers are scheduled to play the Pelicans in their second game and the Nuggets in their second-to-last seeding game.
  • Clippers get two on coaches All-Defensive Teams: The Athletic polled NBA coaches anonymously, and two Clippers — Kawhi Leonard (first team) and Patrick Beverley (second team) — were named in the top 10 best defenders in the league.
  • Talkin’ about practice: Let’s end with some shots from Clippers practice.