Maya Moore and Minnesota Lynx Heading to WNBA Finals
Star Tells Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine: ‘We Are to Be Christ’s Hands and Feet’
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx are heading to the WNBA Finals for the third consecutive season after sweeping the Washington Mystics in a five-game series. After Moore contributed 21 points yesterday against the Mystics, the Lynx will now take on the Los Angeles Sparks on Sept. 24.
Maya Moore has been a driving force for Minnesota this season and in the playoffs. This past spring, Moore shared her faith story with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) Magazine for the May/June 2017 issue, where she said that she knew she loved basketball at a young age and only hoped she would be able to play in college.
“The WNBA playoffs have been exciting for basketball fans of all ages, and FCA is honored to share the stories of professional athletes like Maya Moore and other WNBA players in FCA Magazine,” said magazine editor Clay Meyer. “When everyday Christians, especially young fans who are growing in their faith and hopefully becoming closer to Jesus, see that athletes like Maya can keep the faith even on sports’ largest stage, they realize that Jesus is not only worth living for but deserving of glory in everything they do.”
Throughout several middle schools—Moore and her single mom, Kathryn, moved multiple times due to Kathryn’s job—Maya worked on her game and strengthened her faith in Christ. By the time Moore graduated from Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Ga., she was perhaps the top college recruit in the nation, having led her team to a 125-3 record. But the successes on the court didn’t stop there. At the University of Connecticut, she amassed a 150-4 record, four Final Four appearances and two NCAA championships in 2009 and 2010. Then the Minnesota Lynx selected Moore No. 1 overall in the 2011 WNBA draft.
Now, just six seasons into her pro career, Moore has established herself as one of the WNBA’s all-time greats, leading the Lynx to five prior championship appearances and three titles. Her trophy case includes the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award, 2013 Finals MVP, 2014 League MVP, 2015 All-Star Game MVP and two Olympic gold medals from 2012 and 2016. Last summer, the WNBA featured her on its prestigious “20@20” list, a panel-selected roster of the league’s 20 all-time greatest players to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
But all that notoriety hasn’t turned Moore into the textbook basketball superstar. Not content to sit poolside and sip on fame, she attacks social causes with equal ferocity as zone defenses, determined to help shine Christ’s light into the dark and forgotten corners of the world.
“We are to be Christ’s hands and feet,” she says. “We’re called to be loving neighbors. It might not be as popular, but we have to give a voice to the voiceless.”
The passion with which she approaches issues off the court is no surprise to FCA’s Michelle Backes, who also serves as the Lynx’ chaplain.
“She is so passionate,” Backes says. “She can hardly contain it in a game—in a good way—and I think that’s how it is inside her [spiritually], as well. When she sees injustice of any kind, I think that strikes a chord. I think she’s very prayerful. She won’t proceed with things until she gets clearance.”
When it comes to social justice, Moore takes her cues from Scripture. Psalm 37:28 declares, “For the LORD loves justice…” And Isaiah 1:17 (ESV) says, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” However she can, Moore seeks to reflect her Heavenly Father’s character to others.
“Turning a blind eye to injustice,” she says, “is the opposite of what the gospel means.”
During the WNBA season, Moore’s mission of reaching others with Christ’s love doesn’t change, even if the methods do. As a seven-year veteran, she has assumed the Lynx’ main player-leadership role for the chapel program vacated by Taj McWilliams-Franklin, whose WNBA career ended after the 2012 season. For the past four years, Moore has organized and hosted team Bible studies at her apartment in Minnesota.
“She’d serve her teammates in a safe place even if she was tired and didn’t have a great game the night before,” says Seattle Storm guard/forward Monica Wright, Moore’s former teammate in Minnesota. “You never felt like you owed her or had to pay her back. She just wanted you to get filled up.”
In other WNBA news, the Phoenix Mercury’s season has ended after being swept by the Sparks last night. FCA Magazine has also featured Mercury forward Camille Little in the September/October 2014 issue when she was playing with Seattle, as well as Alex Harden, who is currently injured, in the most recent September/October 2017 edition.
“God wakes me up every morning and gives me a fresh anointing,” Little wrote in an essay for FCA. “I believe He has a purpose and plan for each of us, and right now His plan is for me to grow in my relationship with Him and with others. I learned from the veteran players when I joined the league, and now I’m here as an example to the younger players.
“I hope people see my passion for the game,” she continued, “and, more importantly, I hope they see something special in me: God’s light shining as I play and represent Him on the court. It’s not about the talent I have but about the gifts God has given me to use for His glory. Basketball accomplishments are great, but they can’t compare to my relationship with God. He’s going to do bigger things in my life than just what happens on the court.”
Harden missed the entire WNBA season due to injury, but kept her eyes on the Savior.
“Developing a relationship with Christ is an ever-evolving process,” Harden wrote for FCA Magazine. “It’s opening up to Him as your Father, not as some omnipotent ‘thing in the sky.’ It’s a very intimate connection that requires time, energy and effort, all of which I purposefully invest in Him so I can grow closer to Him. God has given me this platform as a way to help others and give back. Ultimately, I want to be an example for others to look to and say that if she can do it, I can too.”
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.