WNBA Star Maya Moore to Receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award at 2021 ESPY Awards: 'I'm So Honored'

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Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Maya Moore will be recognized for her advocacy work and commitment to criminal justice reform at this year's ESPY Awards.

The WNBA star, 32, is set to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from Good Morning America's Robin Roberts at the July 10 ceremony in New York City. (The date of the ESPYS also marks what would have been Ashe's 78th birthday.)

Moore, who has won four WNBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA MVP award, and three All-Star MVPs among other accolades, put her basketball career on pause in 2019 to fight for prison reform. She was specifically focused on the release of Jonathan Irons, a man who was wrongly convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

In 2007, Moore and Irons met through the prison ministry program and she helped bring awareness to his case, forming the Win with Justice campaign to educate the public on the power of prosecutors and organize for Irons' freedom.

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Maya Moore/ Instagram Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons

When Irons was 16 years old, he was arrested for the nonfatal shooting of a white homeowner named Stanley Stotler during a burglary, despite the fact that no DNA, fingerprints, footprints, or any physical evidence ever linked him to the crime. He was wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury on burglary and assault charges in 1998, though the judge who later vacated his conviction said there was a series of problems with how the case was handled.

In March 2020, Moore helped Irons get exonerated and he was released from prison that July after serving two decades behind bars. Hours after he was freed, he asked Moore to marry him. They announced their union in September 2020.

"I'm so honored to be able to continue to share this powerful story with the world by receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award," Moore said in a statement. "In the face of injustice, the courage to care about justice, human dignity and freedom is now able to be celebrated in this momentous way and I'm so happy for Jonathan and all who helped contribute to this victory!"

Roberts executive produced the upcoming 30 for 30 documentary Breakaway which tells the story of Moore stepping away from her sport to rededicate her life to criminal justice reform. The film will premiere on July 13 at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN and will re-air on ABC Aug. 8.

RELATED: Man Released from Prison After WNBA Star Put Career on Hold to Help Overturn Wrongful Conviction

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon

"Maya's courage lies not just in her decision to step away from a basketball career full of unprecedented success. Instead, her commitment to live a life unerringly devoted to faith, family and justice sets a shining example for anyone seeking their own path toward having a real and lasting impact on the world. We're so honored to celebrate her with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award," Rob King, senior vice president, and editor-at-large ESPN Content, said in a statement.

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage recognizes those who find ways through sports to make a difference far beyond the field of play and impact the world in indelible ways. Previous recipients include Muhammad Ali, Zaevion Dobson, Caitlyn Jenner, Billie Jean King, Nelson Mandela, Pat Summitt and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.

Tennis legend Ashe is the only Black man to ever win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. Throughout his career, he was active in the civil rights movement and fought for racial equality until his death in 1993.

The 2021 ESPY Awards, hosted by Anthony Mackie, will broadcast live on ABC from The Rooftop at Pier 17 at the Seaport in New York City at 8 p.m. EST on July 10, and are expected to follow COVID-19 safety protocols and adhere to CDC guidelines.