Maya Moore marries Jonathan Irons, whom she helped free from prison

Maya Moore has won four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx.
Maya Moore has won four WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx.

Credit: Andy King

Credit: Andy King

WNBA star announced marriage Wednesday on ‘Good Morning America’

WNBA star Maya Moore has announced her marriage to Jonathan Irons, who had previously been wrongly incarcerated for more than two decades until Moore led the charge to free him.

Moore, who played basketball at Gwinnett’s Collins Hill High School, is considered by many as one of the top women’s basketball players in history. She put her career as a small forward for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx on hold to work on reform in the criminal justice system in 2019.

ExploreMaya Moore, who put career on hold, helps overturn prisoner’s 23-year conviction

On Wednesday’s “Good Morning America,” the 31-year-old basketball phenom announced that she and Irons would continue their work to fight for criminal justice, but now they would do so as a married couple.

“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore said. “We got married a couple months ago, and we’re excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”

Long before her basketball fame, Moore had heard about Irons' case. At 16 years old, Irons was accused of being involved in a burglary and shooting of a man in the suburbs of St. Louis, according to SB Nation. Stanley Stotler, a homeowner, returned to find his door open and someone inside. Stotler identified Irons as the person on scene, but there were issues with the identification that were overlooked in court. Irons insisted he wasn’t at the scene, and police had arrested the wrong man.

Irons and Moore met after Irons was sentenced to 50 years in prison and convicted as an adult in the case. Moore’s family in her hometown of St. Louis made her aware of the circumstances of the case. From that point on, they became friends, Moore told “Good Morning America.”

“Over the last 13 years, we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home, and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts, and now we’re sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together,” she said.

While still fighting the charges at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, Irons had asked the young basketball star to marry him. He just told her not to “answer right now.”

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“I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it’s extremely difficult and painful. And I didn’t want her to feel trapped, and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”

The timing came together after the 40-year-old was released from prison in March. A Missouri judge at that time decided to overturn Irons' conviction because there were problems posed by the fingerprint report. Irons said an all-white jury in his case also did not give him a fair shot.

Now that their wedding is over, the two have focused their energy on electing officials who support criminal reform. The newlyweds work with communities via their “Win With Justice Get Out the Vote” campaign.

“We’re basically trying to just educate the public -- get them engaged in the voting process and just being more involved in what’s going on with our country and our government and local jurisdictions, prosecuting offices,” Irons said.