Maya Moore looked like she wanted to be anywhere else, literally anywhere else in the entire world, at least anywhere else inside the confines of Target Center.
Moore just sat there Thursday as WNBA President Laurel Richie took the podium, and aside from inciting an otherwise silent audience to clap when Richie took the stage, she didnt make a peep.
Richie talked for about five minutes while Moore played with her hands, tapped her feet, and sheepishly looked toward Richie, while the WNBA President lauded her incredible season. Moore then quickly looked back down at her feet as quickly as she looked up.
Moore literally looked uncomfortable sitting there hours before game, and perhaps looked even more uncomfortable in the figurative sense.
And no one could blame her.
Moore has been the epitome of the team-first mindset all year. Shes made it a point of emphasis to highlight team accomplishments before personal successes a task thats been tough at times with the amount of hardware shes garnered. And there she was Thursday night, less than two hours before Game 1 against the San Antonio Stars, a night that marked the beginning of the Lynxs quest toward another WNBA title, accepting the highest individual honor the league has to offer.
It's definitely awkward for me, Moore said bluntly at the press conference. I kind of jump back to Big East competition where right before the Big East Tournament awards are being handed out. It's just kind of an awkward time when we're trying to keep our minds focused on something else.
Moore graciously accepted the trophy and snapped a few photos with Richie before taking the mic. In her speech, which didnt seem at all rehearsed, she acknowledged everyone that helped her get to this point family, friends, teammates, coaches. She also talked directly to her mother, Kathryn Moore, who watched the ceremony from the front row, for a few seconds.
I would have never thought years ago as a 5-year-old running around in Jefferson City, Mo., that we'd be standing here today, Moore said while looking at Kathryn. I couldn't have dreamed that up.
Moore quickly changed the subject and averted her eyes, as she appeared to get a little emotional in that moment. She talked for a few more minutes, uninterrupted, before she opened it up for questions.
As members of the media fired questions at her, Moore answered each question with the utmost of class, thoughtfully pondering all of her answers before the words escaped her lips.
This is nothing new for Moore.
Shes won at every stop in her illustrious career from Collins Hill High School in Georgia to the University of Connecticut to now with the Minnesota Lynx. Moore has grown accustom to accepting all types of awards throughout her career, though she admittedly hasnt gotten used to it.
She works like shes the best in the world. She prepares like shes the best in the world. She very well may be the best in the world at what she does, though shed be the last to say it.
Moore just sticks to her grind and works toward the ultimate goal a goal far more important to her than any type of personal award.
It's not necessarily about outworking the person across from me, Moore said. It's outworking that voice inside of my that says, 'I'm too tired. I don't feel like doing it. I can settle.'
I've always tried to give everything that I can in every situation whether it's a small drill at practice or whether it's double overtime in front of our Target Center fans.
Thats led her to this point in her career, with her squad only a handful of wins from another WNBA title.
Moore posed with her new piece of hardware after the ceremony. A few cameramen in the back asked her to stick around a little longer while they captured the moment for a few more seconds.
Moore obliged, only for a few more seconds, though.
"If you didn't get it, ask someone for it," she joked as she hurried to the locker room, a place she actually wanted to be at that moment in time.
There was still work to be done, and a game to be won.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.