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Maya Moore urges emotional courage in Arthur Ashe acceptance speech

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Maya Moore is the 2021 recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The former WNBA star was recognized at Saturday night’s ESPY awards for her work in prison and criminal justice reform. Moore was joined by her husband, Jonathan Irons, whom she helped get released from prison after he was wrongfully convicted in 1998.

During her acceptance speech, Moore, a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, addressed the perceived courage it took for her to step away from basketball to pursue social justice reform. Instead, Moore says, it is the courage to love that is challenging.

“My courage has not been as much in me not playing but in the emotional and mental and spiritual outpouring into love and fighting against injustice,” she said.

Moore ended her speech by imploring the audience to embrace sacrifice and empower those who are most vulnerable.

“Power is not meant to be gripped with a clenched fist or to be hoarded,” Moore said, “but power is meant to be handled generously so we can thoughtfully empower one another to thrive in our communities for love’s sake.”