When the Minnesota Lynx visited the White House in June to be honored for winning the 2013 WNBA championship, President Barack Obama, a noted basketball maven, admitted there was a player on the trip who already knew her way around the joint.
"Basically, there's like a Maya Moore wing in the White House," he said. "When she comes, we've got all her stuff here. She's got a toothbrush."
The president was right. It was already Moore's fifth visit to the White House in her young career; two with UConn national champions, two with the Lynx and one with the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
"It's been such a blessing in my life to be a part of so many championship teams so close to each other," Moore said after practice Friday in preparation for Sunday's game vs. the Connecticut Sun.
"It's humbling. It's an honor to be able to engage with the president, who is such a basketball fan. I know he appreciates [female athletes] as role models for his own daughters."
But in terms of recognition outside of Washington, Moore's image crossed a very important line during baseball's All-Star Game. There she was, peering out from under her hoodie in the debut of the Jordan Brand commercial honoring Derek Jeter, tipping her metaphorical cap to the Yankees' captain.
The ad features some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment.
"One of the cool things about being a professional athlete is being to participate in projects like that and help support and celebrate one of the greatest athletes in sports," Moore said. "It was an honor to be part of it and hopefully a lot of good things can come out of it for all involved."
It was an important next step for a player who has already had major commercial exposure.
"How busy am I these days? Extremely," Moore said. "I'm in a position nowadays when I have to practice saying no [to opportunities]. There are so many things that I can be doing that I simply don't have the time to do. My first priority is my team and my teammates."
In October 2013, Moore was featured as Betty Lou in "Uncle Drew: Chapter 3" of the Pepsi Max commercial series written and directed by NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving. She was the first WNBA player to be a part of the series. Alongside "Lights" (played by Nate Robinson) and "Uncle Drew" (Irving), the three middle-aged hustlers basically dazzle a bunch of young players.
Moore, 25, was also the subject of an ESPN Sports Science video discussing her vertical leap, court vision and muscle memory, featuring her ability to steal the ball. The study noted Moore can move her hands faster than the striking speed of a rattlesnake, something UConn fans became aware of when she was a four-time All-American.
And after her graduation in 2011, Moore became the first female basketball player — and second woman ever — signed to a marketing contract with the Jordan Brand.
Moore's profile, in ascendency since she helped Collins High of Georgia finish No. 1 in the 2007 USA Today national rankings, may be at its highest ever this season. She has completely taken over the WNBA, knocking statistical marks down one by one since being voted the MVP of the Finals last season.
Already a three-time WNBA All-Star, she was the leading vote-getter among players in fan balloting for the recent All-Star Game. This was after opening this season by becoming the first player in WNBA history to score 30 or more points in four straight games.
Before Friday's game in Minnesota against San Antonio, Moore had already scored 30-plus points 10 times this season, tying Diana Taurasi (2008) for the most in a single season — and that's with 10 games left. She is leading the league in scoring (25.1) and within range of the best single-season in league history, Taurasi's 25.3 in 2006.
In her first game after scoring 24 points in the All-Star Game, Moore scored 48 points — the second-highest total in WNBA history (behind the 51 of Riquna Williams in 2013) – in a 112-108 double-overtime win over Eastern Conference leader Atlanta.
"I'm just being very determined about what it is I am going to do," Moore said. "It's not necessarily a premeditated thing. It's more like taking what is there and doing it with a lot of confidence. There isn't a lot of thinking involved; it's playing and playing confidently. When the ball goes in, it builds momentum for the next shot."
Moore was 16 of 30 from the field and 7 of 9 from three in her 48-point game. She also had 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
"That's what's impressive," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said to reporters after the game. "They [the Dream] are not trying to let her drop 48 points on their heads."
Through two months, Moore has has been the Western Conference player of the week a conference-best three times and was the conference player of the month in May.
Much of her production has come from necessity as her team has dealt with injuries all season. Former All-Star Rebekkah Brunson returned against Atlanta after missing the first 23 games because of knee surgery. Olympian Seimone Augustus was forced to miss the All-Star Game with bursitis in her left knee.
"And I think I have the opportunity to do even more," Moore said. "When I have the chance to do something, I am always going to jump at it."
She has also become an international sensation in China after helping Ros Casares Valencia of Spain win the Euroleague title following her rookie season in the WNBA.
When Ros Casares ceased operations, Moore signed with a Chinese professional team, Shanxi Xing Rui Flame. She promptly scored 60 points with 13 rebounds, six blocks and five steals in a game against Yunnan and averaged 45.5 points in her first five games with the team.
Moore finished her first season averaging 41.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, leading the Flame to a championship in their first year at the top level of Chinese women's basketball. In Moore's second year with Shanxi, she again took her team to the finals, averaging 43.3 points in a 3-1 series win over Beijing.
She says she will return to China for at least one more season but has no long-term overseas plans beyond that.Copyright © 2015, CT Now