Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Charity auction, appearance in Derek Jeter commercial part of former UConn star's growth off the court

It would not be a reach to say that former UConn star Maya Moore has been promoted as the face of the WNBA pretty much from the time her name was being called at the 2011 WNBA Draft.

However, Moore's popularity is on the verge of extending outside of the women's basketball world as was evidenced by her being included in Nike's star-studded tribute commercial to retiring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

"He is a legend. he is somebody who meant so much to not only baseball but sports," Moore said before Sunday's game against the Connecticut Sun. "He is one of my brothers on the (Nike) brand, to be able to appreciate his career and be a part of something bigger than myself in something like that, so many other people were honored to participate and it will bring great dividends to everybody who was involved."

So what does it mean to have a female athlete in an advertising campaign as mainstream as the one honoring Jeter leading into his final MLB All-Star game appearance?

"It shows growth for the sports world in general, acknowledging people who have already been fans and already know about us and appreciate us," Moore said. "Hopefully it will just continue to get people excited about the large word of sports that we have and you want to continue to have your sports juices flowing in the summer.

While she isn't able to fulfill every promotional request made of her, Moore embraces her place as one of the most recognizable faces in the WNBA.

"It is something that I think it necessary if we want more people to get excited about the WNBA and the awesome product we have on the court," Moore said. "It is an amazing product so having those partnerships with spheres and networks outside of the game of basketball I think if great for the basketball community and greater entertainment community."

Not all of her time away from the court is utilized to spread the word about the WNBA and women's basketball. She is also known to lend her name to various charities. The most recent one is a charity auction of one of her old UConn jerseys worn in the 2010 game against St. John's. The online auction, run on eBay, which ends on Tuesday, has raised $820 and drawn 64 bids to date.

"The team of people who help my life go every day, we got together and it was an awesome program that eBay uses to auction off an item for charity," Moore said. "I am so blessed to have so many different physical, material blessings that I feel people would want or appreciate and in the process raise some money for a good causes that are near and dear to my heart. It has worked out really well, it has been really satisfying to know that these things are stockpiling up in my house and it can be put to good use."

Finally, since this was the first chance I had to speak with Moore since UConn completed an undefeated season and won its second straight national title.

"It was so satisfying," Moore said. "I was there with them in spirit, it was one of those things where I lose my voice because two days in a row I am screaming for Connecticut on the TV (during the national championship games). I am proud of the growth I have seen out of the seniors knowing that there were freshmen when I was a senior. It was great to see how they have grown. The players coming through, it was great to see how they overcome Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) overcoming her injury and playing phenomenally in the Final Four. I definitely am still like a proud big sister when it comes to Connecticut women's basketball."

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