Jonathan Irons was sentenced to 50 years in prison for burglary and assault on an owner with a gun, but the decision was overturned in March and he walked free on Wednesday.
Moore, who spent an entire season helping to overturn the conviction, was one of the first to kiss him after his release.
In an appearance alongside Irons on ABC’s Good Morning America, Moore said she finally felt like she could rest after “standing for so long”.
“It was an unforeseen moment when I felt relief and it was a kind of moment of worship,” she said Thursday, speaking of the time when Irons was released.
“I fell on my knees and I am so thankful that we did it.”
“I forgive him”
Moore, who had met Irons in 1998 in a prison ministry, is considered one of the greatest players in basketball but has announced that she will skip a second WNBA season to focus on criminal justice reform .
“When I walked away [from the court] Two springs ago, I really wanted to change my priorities to be more available and more present in order to present myself for things that seemed more important to me than being a professional athlete, “she added.
“So this is obviously one of the most important and direct results of this.”
After serving 22 years in prison, Irons stated that he did not blame his accuser in any way and that he wanted to spend his time helping others in the same situation as him.
“I think at some point, if not already, he will be hit with a lot of guilt and I want to let him know that he has a safe place to rest because I forgive him,” he said. .
“There are a lot of things to settle here and I’m going to go slowly and I’m surrounded by people I know who love me and who have my best interests in mind.”
“I will listen to them and study and learn all I can. When I have the time and the opportunity, the resources and the provisions, I want to be able to contact and help others.”
“Black man wrongly convicted walks freely”
Selected by the Minnesota Lynx as the number one pick in the 2011 draft, Moore won her first WNBA title in her first season. She added other titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve praised Moore for winning another “championship,” but said he was angry that the superstar had to sacrifice so much to attack the justice system.
“I was shocked to see Maya watching Jonathan Irons walk out of the Jefferson City correctional center as a free man,” said Reeve to the Lynx website.
“For the past few years, we have watched her devote herself gracefully to Jonathan’s case and, as she has done so often on the basketball court, put the Irons team on their backs.
“I am overwhelmed with joy that Maya and everyone involved was able to reach their goal of exonerating Jonathan.”
Reeve added: “On behalf of the Lynx organization, we are very proud of Maya for having won the greatest victory of her career.
“I am sure she was also elected MVP of this championship. This time, there is no equipment to bring the trophy home, just a wrongly convicted black man who walks freely.”
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.