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Minnesota's greatest athlete Since she came to town in 2011, the Lynx have won three championships in five years. That's a big deal. Minnesota hadn't won a professional championship since the Twins' World Series victory in 1991 a quarter century ago. But Los Lynx as their fans affectionately call them have transformed Minnesota from a land of also rans into the home of champions. Moore has not done it alone. She has some very good teammates in Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Rebekkah Brunson, and Janal McCarville, plus an all star coach in Cheryl Reeve. Yet good as they are, it's Maya who leads the team in minutes played, points scored, and inspiration. At Collins High in suburban Atlanta, she won three state championships. At the University of Connecticut, she won two national championships and led her team on a 90 game unbeaten streak. national team, she has won five titles, including the Gold at the 2012 Olympics. Playing overseas in the winter season, she has won three league championships. Plus those three WNBA championships with the Lynx. That's 16 championships in 12 years. The ancient Greeks would have known her as Nike, "the goddess of victory." We have never had a winner like her in our midst. Pregame, the clock winding down on the 60 minute warm up period, Los Lynx have headed into the locker room. Only Maya nike q-lok wrench and Rebekkah Brunson remain, both still shooting, moving around the court, working the angles, seemingly locked in a duel to see who can outlast the other. With fewer than two minutes remaining, Maya finally walks off, but stops at a railing to sign autographs for a dozen kids clustered there. Brunson has to usher her away. "Maya, we only have 20 seconds," she calls. Maya follows at a trot, high fiving fans along the corridor. They cheer. Even if you just caught a glimpse of her, the moment tells you so much about Maya. For starters, she's one of the best players in the world on her way to becoming the greatest but she hasn't forgotten how she got there. She's still working hard, still consciously trying to improve her game. She can hardly talk to a reporter these days without mentioning efficiency, which can mean many things, she explains minutes played, shots made, relating nike 30 off to teammates. Most often, it's taken to mean 50/40/90, shorthand for shooting, three point, and free throw percentages. It's the gold standard of excellence. Through the Lynx's first 23 games of the 2016 season, Maya hit 46/38/88. That's not just natural talent talking; that's the result of the time she spends trying to improve her game. When she pauses to sign autographs, it doesn't seem like she's fulfilling some perfunctory requirement. She comes across as genuine. She's got a game to play, but she's taking time, chatting, smiling, signing whatever is passed her way. She cares about the fans, knows the importance of being there for them. She does not rush. Instead, she has to be urged by her teammate to get to the locker room. You can hear the love in the cheers as she runs down this corridor, later during the player introductions, and every time the public address announcer calls her name. She is talented, charming, enthusiastic, and virtuous. As the converted hockey fan McChesney says, "What's not to like?" It started with a single mom trying to figure out how to cope with a three year old in perpetual motion throughout a small apartment in Jefferson City, Missouri. Mom hung a mini hoop on a door to contain the girl's energy. Young Maya dunked for hours. Every time she slammed the ball through the hoop wham! she tasted joy. Or, for those who favor genetic over environmental influences, it started when mother Kathryn Moore, who played volleyball at Occidental College, hooked up with former Rutgers star Mike Dabney, who led his school to the NCAA Final Four in 1976. Dabney eventually married another woman and had two more daughters. He was not part of Maya's childhood, nor does she like to talk about it. "That's personal." More significantly, she glimpsed the career path the WNBA blazed. "Knowing that being a basketball player was okay, as a female, it was cool, it was exciting," she says. "You could say, 'I want to be a pro basketball player,' and it was possible. We had a place." When Maya was 11, Kathryn received a promotion at the phone company. The family of two relocated to Charlotte. But the company downsized a year later. Kathryn found a job with a bank and moved to suburban Atlanta. Maya enrolled at Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County. Though she became the state runner up in the high jump, she abandoned track and field to devote herself to basketball. By then, she had won her first Georgia state basketball championship, been named to USA Today's freshman and sophomore All America teams, and become the most widely recruited high school prospect in the country. During her career, Collins Hill would go a stunning 125 3. Just as impressive: Maya graduated with a perfect 4.0. She committed to UConn, where she became a national sensation. Maya was named an All American all four years only the second player in history to pull that off. She won three Wade Trophy Awards as the nation's best player. She set a gazillion school, conference, and national scoring records. She was also named an Academic All American. Perhaps most amazing is that she finished college with a 150 4 record, better than anyone else, male or female, has ever done. Which is how she became a gift to Minnesota. When the Lynx had the incredible luck to win the first pick in the 2011 WNBA draft, Maya Moore was the sweepstakes prize. Before a game against the Indiana Fever, the team that Los Lynx defeated for its last championship, Maya is all business. On the edge of the court, she rolls her hips and legs on a cylindrical tube. Her expression is locked into serious. She fixes her eyes on a distant point. It is during this 15 minute window that reporters are allowed to ask questions, something the players don't seem to like and only begrudgingly tolerate. Maya's polite. But it's obvious she does not welcome the intrusion when a reporter (me) approaches. "Winning is a lifestyle," she said a week earlier at practice. She sat on a folding chair, gulping a Vega protein drink and chasing it with lemon lime Gatorade. She cares for her body meticulously, whether it be lifting, stretching, icing, sleeping, or eating. You're not likely to bump into Maya at Southdale or First Avenue. She lives in a St. Louis Park apartment complex where most of the players live. Her nike outlet return policy ideal night is hanging with friends or family, listening to music, eating good food. She was born again when she was 12 years old, and the Lord remains foremost in her life. Her worst vice is red velvet in any form: cake, cupcakes, cheesecake. After she's done playing basketball, she aspires to marriage and motherhood. She sees herself "taking joy in that journey. A woman doesn't have to be working outside her home to be a success." Does she have someone in mind as that future husband? This is a source of much curiosity for her fans. But she swats away the question with a firm tone. "That's personal." She is also hyper competitive. Doesn't matter if it's a silly dance competition in the locker room, a power shoulder exercise in the weight room, or a game of cards at Coach Reeve's house. Maya wants to win. "She is a competitor and wants to win at all costs," says teammate Seimone Augustus.