Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore has been an icon in the WNBA since she was drafted in 2011. A three-time league champion, Moore has been to five All-Star games and has become an ambassador for UNICEF, an organization that helps kids all around the world have better lives. I interviewed her about her involvement with UNICEF and the 2017 WNBA season.
You’re involved with several organizations, one of them UNICEF. How did you get involved with this organization?
I was introduced to their Kid Power program, and it really excited me to see these Kid Power bands that keep track of kids’ movement and activity level. Every time a person gets enough points because their movement level, they unlock food packets for malnourished kids all around the world. A few of my passions are exercise and [being in the] kitchen, so I thought it was the perfect match for me to bring my passion to that awesome program.
How long ago did you get involved?
I’ve been involved for a few years now, and it’s been really cool to see kids and their families getting involved and impacting other families around the world.
How are you using your notoriety to promote UNICEF?
Getting the opportunity to promote something, whether it’s through my social media channels or telling people about it in the Twin Cities area. Sometimes I show up at different events they’re having. Once I went to an event and helped energize the kids to get involved with the Kid Power program.
It was fun. I think at first everybody was a little nervous to participate, but in the end we were really loud, energetic, and moving! We were trying to encourage the kids to be competitive and compete at the games we had set up for them, so we had a lot of fun!
Why is UNICEF important to you?
I think it’s always great to make partnerships with different people or organizations that are passionate about the same things that you are. In this case, health and exercise are big passions of mine. Making sure that people here at home and around the world have the ability to be healthy, or just inspiring them to be healthy by being more active, or just encouraging them—because when we are healthy, we can do what we were meant to do in this world. In addition, the healthier you are, the more energy you're going to have, and you have to give the world the best you have. It’s a really cool partnership, and I’m glad it’s still happening.
Last season ended on a disappointing note for you and your teammates, with a loss to the L.A. Sparks in the finals. What are two concrete things y’all are doing to get back to the finals?
I would say just continuing to pay attention to all the little details it takes to win consistently and playing with passion.
In your opinion, what makes a good team leader?
I think a good team leader, first and foremost, is someone who leads by example. Someone who walks the walk and is unselfish, willing to serve and help give as much as they can to help their group succeed. I think a good team leader is also a good teammate and doesn’t expect everyone to only think about them. They realize that they are part of a team and that they have a leadership role.
You’ve played overseas as well as in the WNBA. What’s the most interesting thing that you have learned from playing in China and Europe?
Probably the fact that just because you don’t speak the same language as someone, that doesn’t mean you can’t play a sport together. It’s really amazing to think about the fact that I was in China, and I don’t speak any Chinese; however, we were all able to speak the language of basketball because we know the game of basketball. It was really cool to see that work out even though I couldn't fully speak with my teammates.
What is one thing you think kids would want to know about you?
That I enjoy reading and like to cook!
For more information about the Kid Power program, click here.
Photographs by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images (action); Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for UNICEF (Kid Power event)