Maya Moore is finally (and deservedly) receiving her flowers in 2024

As the WNBA grows in terms of success and years, one thing that is certainly becoming more prevalent within our W family is the classic discussion of who its greatest of all time is. 

On the NBA side of the ledger, that conversation appears to revolve around three of its all-time greats. Those three are, of course, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. 

Ask someone in a WNBA sense and that number is sure to elicit a plethora of different responses. Some may say Lisa Leslie or Sheryl Swoopes. Others may say Candace Parker. Others may say Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi. Even A’ja Wilson at her still relatively young age is beginning to enter that stratosphere as well. 

Then there is Maya Moore. 

We have often forgot about her in the pantheon of these GOAT conversations but her laundry list of accomplishments – including the four championships she was as the figurehead of the Minnesota Lynx’s dynasty in the 2010s – is certainly worthy of respect. 

Wherever Moore went in her career, wins and championships followed. From her high school days in Marietta, Georgia to her college career at UConn to her days leading the Lynx to championships, Moore was a proven winner. 

But it seemed in recent years that Moore has been inexplicably left out of the WNBA’s GOAT debate in favor of the Birds and the Taurasis – both greats in their own right. 

Seeing being instrumental in freeing Jonathan Irons from prison – and then marrying him – Moore has mostly kept a low profile. She did officially announce her retirement in early 2023, ending any chance us WNBA fans had that she would return for a second act in the W. 

Moore has been in the news aplenty in 2024. She greeted Iowa’s Caitlin Clark prior to the game where Clark ended up setting what the NCAA recognizes as its all-time scoring record. Travis Scott was also at that game and reportedly acknowledged Clark but did not acknowledge Moore. 

One would think that a rapper from the city that birthed the WNBA’s first dynasty in the Houston Comets would pay a bit more respect to another of the game’s all-time greats but we digress. 

Next month, the eyes and ears of many a women’s basketball fan will be on Knoxville, Tennessee for this year’s Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Moore is the headliner of this year’s class along with her former Minnesota teammate Seimone Augustus. 

The 25th anniversary class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame also includes Rita Gail Easterling, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Violet Palmer, Sue Phillips, Mary “Roonie” Scovel. It is also recognizing Cheyney State College and the For the Love of the Game award to the Afghan Resettlement Program that resettled women’s basketball players in Knoxville after the Taliban took control of the country. 

Induction day for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is always a marquee day on the calendar – and this year’s will certainly be no different.

Now, we recently learned that the Lynx will have a retirement ceremony for Moore this season at one of their home games at Target Center. Which game did Minnesota choose? 

Its August 24 contest vs. the Indiana Fever. Obviously, the Lynx are using the Maya Moore-Caitlin Clark connection to the team’s advantage – especially when one can expect a large contingent of Iowa fans to make the short drive up to Minnesota to see their home state hero.

It may have taken a few years after she played her last game in 2018, but we are starting to see Moore in 2024 receive the flowers that she has always deserved. And let’s not use when she left the game and how she left the game against her. 

Notice how in other sports when someone is at the midpoint of their career with a laundry list of accolades that pundits want to pencil them into their respective GOAT conversations already? It is already happening with Patrick Mahomes in the NFL after he won another Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

It should also happen with Moore. Let us not leave her out of that greatest of all time conversation because she could have won more rings. Instead, we should thank her for the greatness she brought to the game of basketball throughout the period of time that she played when women’s basketball was ascending and growing in popularity. 

Her Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said it best in a recent virtual press conference…