Maya Moore of the Lynx is telling the story about the day she taught her mom, Kathryn, how to block her shot. They are laughing, they are smiling. You get a sense of the depth of their relationship by the lightness of the banter, the easy way they finish each other’s thoughts.
Kathryn: “So she says, ‘It’s so much fun when you do it.’ ”
Maya: “So I ask her, ‘Do you want to try it?’ ”
Kathryn, mimicking the move: “Pow.’’
Maya: “Now she goes and tells everybody, ‘Yeah, I blocked her shot.’ ”
When they’re together, it’s obvious how much the two look alike. The eyes, the smile. And they’re together often. Almost 24 years ago, Kathryn gave birth to her only child and suddenly became a single mom. A nurse came by to take Maya — named after poet laureate Maya Angelou — to the nursery so Kathryn could get some rest. No. Kathryn preferred to hold Maya in her arms.
That was the start of Team Moore.
There always has been other family — doting grandparents, close cousins. But essentially Maya has had Kathryn and vice versa.
From their move from Jefferson City, Mo., to Charlotte, N.C., when Maya was 11 to their move to the suburbs of Atlanta not long after. When Maya went to the University of Connecticut, Kathryn moved to Storrs with her. And when Maya went to China to play basketball last fall, acting as an ambassador for the sport in a new land, Kathryn went along.
Mother and daughter. Friends. Teammates. Partners.
“As I’ve gotten older it has become more of a team dynamic,” Maya said. “She’s involved in my everyday life, my business life, helping my brand go. I think growing up she had no idea, and I had no idea, it was going to lead to this. To the WNBA, all this excitement, championships, all the things that have come so far. … It’s been great being able to trust that someone has my back.”
When the two prepared for a Mother’s Day photo shoot. Kathryn pulled out a brush and started in on Maya’s long hair. Maya adjusted Kathryn’s shirt. Then Maya put her arms around her mother and they both smiled for the camera.
They are remembering Maya’s first basketball team.
Maya: “Second grade, YMCA, green and white.’’
Kathryn: “She was the only one who could score.”