Q&A with Lynx Superstar Maya Moore

It’s hard to relate to Maya Moore.  Widely regarded as the best women’s baller in the world, Moore has won multiple championships at the high school, collegiate and professional levels along with an Olympic gold medal. She’s got individual honors covered too, the 4th year forward is a 3-time All Star, 2011 Rookie of the Year and 2013 WNBA Finals MVP. And, after turning 25 last month, she can even rent a car.

What’s left? Intrigued, I sat down with the Lynx superstar after Tuesday’s practice.

DZ: Who is the most interesting person you met on Sunday at the Celebrity and Legends Softball Game?

MOORE: (pauses) We had a couple of wounded warriors that were out there just showing off their skills. It was really impressive. My teammate (Greg Reynolds), who has one healthy arm was out there swinging, making hits single handed; making catches out in centerfield, throwing his glove off and catching the ball midair and throwing it. It was so impressive to see his hustle and see his resilience out there. It gave a lot of us energy and momentum.

DZ: Seimone (Augustus) has been out awhile, how does that change your role with the team?

MOORE: Just stepping up - leadership and vocally. Making sure I make solid decisions with the ball like she would do and just stepping up my defensive intensity to guard some of the two guards she would be guarding sometimes. Monica (Wright) has also stepped in and taken over the energy defensively for us which has been a good addition - getting her out there more. I want to be more efficient on the offensive end and just being tough and competitive.

DZ: You personally and this team have had a lot of success in past years, what do you do to keep that edge and stay hungry?

MOORE: I think it starts with our leadership - our coaching staff and the captains on this team. The attitude of our overall group is that we want to make the most out of everyday. We enjoy each other, we realize how great of an opportunity that we have with the people we have in this program. We want to push each other to the edge every day to try to get better and not leave anything uncovered. When we come in with that attitude everyday, it forces us to get better and that shows on the court.

DZ: You personally have won at pretty much every level and won everything - pretty much - that there is to win…

MOORE: Except for this year’s championship!

DZ: …what was the most difficult time of your career, the most adversity you faced?

MOORE: Every year coming off of a championship loss is very tough. I’ve lost at every level except the Olympic level - I’ve just started my Olympic journey. In high school, coming off of our state championship loss my freshman year; my freshman year in college (and) my senior year in college, losing in the Final Four; losing in the (WNBA) Finals in 2012. Every few years, it’s a heart breaking loss and it just fuels me and the teams that I am on to be more determined when we get that opportunity again.

Overall, the everyday grind of being great and striving for excellence. It’s hard to really say this day or this moment, but just the overall - being consistently great and striving to be excellent is very hard to do. You want to take days off or take a shortcut, but just pushing myself and trying to push my teammates and them doing the same for me. Everyday going the extra mile, embrace the hardness of everyday is a grind.

DZ: Is that something that comes from inside you or do you feed off of other people; how does that work?

MOORE: It’s a combination. You definitely need help. Having that external encouragement and competition, if you use it right, can propel you to be better. There is no doubt that if you want to be absolutely great, you have to have that internal “want to” to be great, to embrace the hard aspects of the process. It’s hard to really pinpoint why certain people have it more than others, but I absolutely know that everyday I wake up it’s a gift that I am…able to come out here and play with this awesome group…So I play with a grateful, hungry attitude when out competing and try to get the most out of everyday.

DZ: One last thing, when you do face tough times and adversity, what gets you through that?

MOORE: When you are faced with a challenge or failure or hard time or unexpected event, you can either handle it poorly and it can make you worse, set you back or you can embrace it and learn from it and try to overcome it and be better because of it. I am surrounding with players and people that want to be better and I try to do the same thing. I take a look at the situation, try to learn from it. I feel the feeling of frustration and sometimes, disappointment and wanting to be better, but you have to let it go and use it as fuel to help you be better the next time. Having someone to talk or to process through is great whether it’s a teammate or coach, so you feel like you are in it together with them. Being careful about placing blame, you have to be very careful about taking responsibility for your part and try to move forward and bouncing back. Especially on the court, you have to have a short memory and you have to move on from play-to-play-to-play and then after the game you can take a look at how you can get better.

DZ: I lied, one more thing: can you think of an instance when you did handle something poorly and what you learned from it?

MOORE: Yeah, sure. I can think of two examples. I don’t know if it’s a certain play or day, but in game when something bad happens - either you get a call you don’t agree with or you make a couple of mistakes in a row and you let that outward frustration show which affects your teammates. It can affect me; if I am trying to talk to an official to get him to change a call - I am not focusing on what I am supposed to be focused on (and) I let another moment or opportunity to slip. I am not thinking about the defensive possession that I need to be helping my teammate or doing a certain job and I miss it because I am thinking about the mistake or call I didn’t like or something like that.

After the game, letting your emotions lead you to bad eating choices or going somewhere you don’t need to be going instead of recovering the proper way. When you are mad or angry or frustrated it can lead into other poor decisions, so I try to be very careful when I am challenged…to step back and say “All right, this could get worse, how can I make sure I move this in the right direction and help my teammates?”

2 Responses to “Q&A with Lynx Superstar Maya Moore”

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