ESPN Films Sets Documentary on WNBA Star and Activist Maya Moore

    • The WNBA star stepped away from the sport to pursue activism.
    • On Sept. 16, Moore announced she married the man she helped free from a wrongful prison sentence.

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Production is underway on a documentary collaboration between ESPN Films and Rock’n Robin Productions that will center on WNBA star Maya Moore. 

Moore stepped away from basketball in 2019 to help overturn the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Irons, who had been serving a decades-long prison sentence for burglary and assault. Irons was released in July, and on “Good Morning America” on Sept. 16, the duo announced they had married. 

The currently untitled project will “explore Moore’s unwavering faith” along with her connection with Irons and her decision to press pause on her playing career to pursue activism.

“I am so hopeful that this intimate look at our journey for justice will inspire all to believe that change & justice are possible,” Moore said in a release. “The heart of this story is that when we see & value the people suffering around us we can start to become the community we know we were meant to be. I’m more convinced than ever that love & sacrifice will lead us to the win for humanity.” 

Irons, now 40, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1998 after he was convicted of breaking into a Missouri home and shooting a homeowner twice — Irons maintained that he had been misidentified. A judge ruled in March that prosecutors had suppressed fingerprint evidence that would have strengthened Irons’ defense.

Moore and Irons were introduced in 2007 during a ministry penitentiary visit.

Moore, 31, went on to win four WNBA championships as a member of the Minnesota Lynx and was named league MVP in 2014. She was a six-time All-Star, five-time All-WNBA first-team honoree, and the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Prior to her professional career, Moore won two national titles with UConn. 

She said on “GMA” that she’s not yet sure what her future in the sport holds. 

“I am trying to really just breathe from this long, long battle,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of unknowns for a lot of us right now. So I’m still in that camp.”

ESPN Films has produced over 100 documentaries since 2008, headlined by the “30 for 30” series, and recently, the “The Last Dance,” which captivated sports-hungry fans early in the COVID-19 shutdown. 

The news of the Moore doc comes on the same day the company announced that a four-part documentary on South African “blade runner” Oscar Pistorius — “The Life And Trials of Oscar Pistorius” — will premiere on over-the-top streaming service ESPN+ Sept. 27.

Pistorius, a double-amputee, skyrocketed in the global consciousness competing against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 Olympics, but less than a year later, he was accused and later convicted of murdering his girlfriend. 

It won’t be the first documentary to premiere directly on the $5.99 monthly streaming platform, but will bring ESPN+ enticing content in a time in which broadcasters are facing a dearth of live sports.

Since its launch in 2018, ESPN+ has advertised that it airs 12,000 hours of live sports per year  — it surpassed 8.5 million paid subscribers earlier this year.  

The entire “30 for 30” library is available on ESPN+.