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Leader of the pack

Maya Moore — a fan of Lecrae and Twitter and the ‘dancing woman’ emoji, is with her Lynx in back-to-back WNBA Finals

Maya Moore has the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals for the fifth time in six years. She helped lead the team to three straight appearances from 2011 to 2013 and is trying to help the team win a title in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history. The 27-year-old small forward is averaging 25.7 points per game (a career high), six rebounds and 3.3 assists. Moore was the first overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft, and since then has won three titles (2015, 2013 and 2011), the 2014 WNBA MVP and the 2013 WNBA Finals MVP. The Lynx would become only the third team in WNBA history to repeat as champions (Houston Comets and Los Angeles Sparks) and just the second team in league history to win the chip four times (Houston Comets). But she took some time out to chat about her likes and loves.

Last show you binge-watched?

19 Kids and Counting. It’s a show on TLC where they follow this family for like 10 years and they have 19 kids. It’s really amazing. It’s so interesting to me, just the dynamic of having that many people in a house. I love their heart and how they live their lives. It’s encouraging to me, because it’s like one big team going through life.

Do you have a favorite throwback show?

One of my favorites is Smart Guy. When I was young, as far as watching basketball, it was Inside Stuff. I think it was on the weekend, so every morning was eating my Lucky Charms and watching Inside Stuff.

What is your dinner of choice?

Anything Italian. Anything with pasta, some kind of seafood with it. A nice salad with it and sparkling water.

Sparkling water? What is it about sparkling water that’s so good?

You feel like you’re getting more, but you’re getting water. It’s not soda with the sugar that you have to monitor. You get a little extra bubble. It’s a nice touch.

What’s your social tribe?

I am on Twitter, that’s really the main one. I’m not on social media a ton, but every now and then, I engage on Twitter.

Would you say you have a favorite exercise or workout?

There’s a drill called shell drill that in high school and college it’s about just the basic staples of knowing how to play basketball offensively and defensively. You have four players on the court instead of all five yet, so you’re exposed. It helps you develop your basketball instinct.

How do you feel like, especially this year with the death of Prince, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers, the Minnesota Lynx have been a healing force for you?

I think just the characteristics you see in our team can be very encouraging to the community, mainly in our unselfishness and how we really, genuinely want each other to succeed and not caring who gets the success. The passion that we play with can be encouraging. I think it’s really healing for people to see that joy, that passion, that care for each other as a team. How we communicate, how we respect each other, how we listen. We all got players from backgrounds. We’ve got players that come from different walks of life, and in sports, you kind of put that all aside for the good of the team.

How do you personally decompress?

It starts first with my relationship with Christ. That’s the first place I go to when everything is overwhelming or sad. … I also seek wise people around me who have lived some life and have some good insight on how to have a proper perspective at times like this. So I have a circle of friends that I trust.

What kinds of music do you play to make yourself feel better?

I’m very big into the content of the lyrics that I listen, because I think words are powerful. Music is such a big mover of your emotions, so I’m definitely more of a worship style or Christian rap or artist that just really speak with thought and aren’t afraid to talk about some things. It’s unfortunately not as mainstream, but artists like Lecrae or Hillsong, sometimes Mary Mary — I get down to a more gospel style. Sons & Daughters is a good one, Kari Jobe, TobyMac.

“Anybody can relate to the ups and downs, the victories and losses that go into sports. I think it can be very encouraging and entertaining.”

If you were going out with your friends, and it was karaoke night, which artist and song would you sing?

Well, it depends, because most music [I’m] into karaoke places don’t play. But if it was in that case, I would just go with a Michael Jackson song. Any Michael Jackson song, and we could figure it out. Mary Mary’s Shackles is one of the funniest songs to sing. Not many people can sing it, because they’re such powerful singers. That’s a go-to, that’s a must.

If you had to plan your Friday night, from start to finish, what would you do for fun?

Any concert. I love hanging out with my friends and family around food over someone’s house … That’s where I feel the most relaxed and energized. Maybe an intimate venue with spoken word — I don’t get to do that too much, but I do enjoy it when I get a chance.

What’s the one emoji you use the most?

I guess the dancing woman one in the red dress. That one’s my favorite because I think it’s the most impactful emoji. If you are responding in a way where you’re in a red dress dancing, life is going well.

What is your favorite way to give back? If you had to pick a day and way to do it, what would you do?

I’m going to give you three, because I can’t choose one. One would be around music, where we could have a day to either expose young people to music or expose them to different types of music or different leaders in music and conclude it with some type of concert. I love education, so something around education, whether that’s writing books or educational opportunities for youth. The last one would be nutrition. So either getting a garden and planting it at a school or something that they keep up as a program about providing families with nutrition and how they can get more nutritional quality from the food they’re eating or their ideas of what good food is. Or maybe cooking classes.

Do you have any secret talents?

I’m pretty good at improv. I can make up a story, or imitate someone. I have a little dramatic side, I enjoy performing and acting, just making people laugh.

What’s been the most special moment of your career?

In 2010, when we [UConn] won the NCAA championship. Tina Charles was a senior, and I was a junior, and we set a record for least amount of points scored in a half in a national championship game in the first half. Then set the record for most points scored in a half in the second half. We were down at halftime, 20-12, came back and won. We had to chip away, chip away, chip away, and it was against a really good Stanford team. We came back and won, and it saved our undefeated season— our second undefeated season — because we had been undefeated for all those games, and that was probably the toughest, the grittiest comeback win at that level. Also, last year, being able to hit that 3-point shot in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals. That was kind of an out-of-body experience. Just hearing how quiet that arena was, and how many thousands of people, in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and they were just so silent, just for those few seconds. It was almost eerie how silent it was. My teammates rushed me, and we were able to take it home in Game 5 in front of 18,000 in Minneapolis.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.