Maya Moore stepped away from the WNBA in 2018 to fight for Jonathan Irons, who she felt was wrongfully incarcerated.
Her fight for justice evolved into love and marriage, and ESPN is telling their story.
Watch the teaser below.
Rudy Valdez directed Maya and Jonathan’s story, “Breakaway.”
He is an Emmy-Award-winning director, and he has a relatable story. His previous film, “The Sentence” was about his fight to free his sister from prison.
He said he pulled from his personal experience with his sister to help tell Jonathan’s story.
It’s the foundation of who I am as a storyteller. I wanted to go around that and tell a very personal human story about what it means to incarcerate somebody for an extended amount of time. And what that does to the community and families left behind.
I immediately I wanted to get past the headline … not to sidestep how wonderful and legendary a basketball player Maya is. I knew that there was something around the corner of that headline. And at its core this film is about a human being believing in another human being.
I wanted to tell that version of the story, because I think that the hearts and minds are what’s going to help change these laws and help change people’s perspective on incarceration and people who are incarcerated and families of those incarcerated, so I feel very fortunate to have been able to tell this story
Jonathan was 16-years-old when he was convicted as an adult by an all-white jury for burglary and shooting at the home of 38-year-old Stanley Stotler. He maintained his inence throughout his incarceration, saying he was wrongfully identified during the lineup.
A Missouri judge overturned Jonathan’s conviction in March 2020, after 23 years of incarceration, citing problems with the way the case was investigated and tried. There was a fingerprint report that would’ve proved Jonathan’s innocence that was never turned over to his defense team.
Jonathan and Maya wed in September 2020, she met him when she was 18-years-old on a jail visit with her godparents, who were fighting for Jonathan’s freedom.
They maintained their friendship throughout her college and NBA career, and that friendship evolved into love.
Jonathan shared his emotions concerning his freedom, his marriage, and his new life, during the GMA interview.
It’s like being awakened … or coming back to life again after almost living in a frozen land. Coming out in society and just being embraced with love and goodness and just people embracing me and wanting to encourage me and check on me.
It matters. I want that for other prisoners that come out of prison and people that are wrongly convicted.
I’m so grateful to be married to Maya, she’s been instrumental in my transition and just helping me understand the world and society,”
Watch Maya, Jonathan, and Rudy’s GMA interview below:
Maya received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s this past Saturday (July 10) for her work with criminal justice reform.
“Breakaway” is a Rockin Roberts production, Robin Roberts’ production company, and it premieres tonight (July 13) on ESPN at 9 PM EST.
Please support this amazing story.
We wish Maya and Jonathan the best in their marriage and all of their future endeavors.