WNBA star Maya Moore fell to her knees Wednesday in what she described as a “worshipful moment” after sacrificing a season of her sports career to see Jonathan Irons — a wrongfully imprisoned Missouri man — walk free.
During an interview with “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, Moore said she was visiting extended family in Missouri when she learned her loved ones “connected with Jonathan through a prison ministry opportunity.” At just 16 years old, Irons was tried as an adult for assault and burglary. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Irons’ legal team, in tandem with Moore, saw holes, though, in the case.
After 23 years behind bars, Irons’ conviction was overturned in March, and he was finally released Wednesday — a moment that sparked an intense emotional reaction for Moore, who is a Christian.
When she met Irons at his release, Moore was wearing a T-shirt that read: “Do Justice / Love Mercy / Walk Humbly.” Those three phrases are in reference to the Old Testament Bible verse Micah 6:8.
As for Irons, he told reporters Wednesday he feels like he can “live life now.”
“I’m free, I’m blessed; I just wanna live my life worthy of God’s help and influence and provision in my life,” he explained. “He made this possible. I thank everyone who supported me, Maya and her family.”
“I’m so grateful,” he continued, showing off a face mask made for him by other inmates. “It says, ‘HOPE,’ because they need that.’”
Irons told Roberts he holds no ill will toward the man who wrongfully identified him as the person who robbed him. In fact, Irons said he is a victim himself of being manipulated into incorrectly naming Irons as the assailant.
When he gets back on his feet, Irons told the “GMA” host he wants to help those who are less fortunate and “speak to positive change” in our culture.
“I want people to have hope from this story, because we’re in dark times,” he said. “We gotta keep going. We gotta keep the faith. You said something [Roberts] the other day on this show. You said, ‘When fear knocks on the door, you let faith open it.’ And this is a story of that. We’ve done that every day.”