Maya Moore tells PEOPLE of the women's team heading to Rio

By Rose Minutaglio
August 07, 2016 09:20 AM
Harry How/Getty

Women’s basketball Olympic veteran Maya Moore is returning to the Games hungry for a second gold medal – and the forward thinks her all-star squad has a good shot of obtaining it.

“The core [players] have been pretty solid for the past 5 years,” Moore, a Minnesota Lynx WNBA player, tells PEOPLE of her Olympic team heading to Rio de Janiero. “But USA basketball is fun, it’s easy. It’s the best of the best, the people you respect on the court.”

Joining Moore – who won best WNBA player at this year’s ESPY Awards – on Team USA are fellow WNBA superstars Sue Bird, Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi.

“It’s funny, the people you are trying to beat every night [in the WNBA] are on your team now and we have awesome coaches and staff to take care of us,” says Moore, 27. “We play so hard and overall the Olympics are such a positive experience.”

With only days left until the Olympics kick off, here’s what you need to know about Maya Moore:

Moore has played shooting games with President Barack Obama at the White House – and won.

“He’s got a funky left hand jumper, but it goes in!” Moore says with a laugh. “It’s unorthodox, but it’s consistent. If the goal is to make the basket, he does a good job.”

President Barack Obama presents a basketball to Maya Moore in 2010
Susan Walsh/AP

The former University of Connecticut NCAA champion has visited the White House on numerous occasions in college and after winning gold in the 2012 Olympics. In fact, she’s gone to D.C. so often that the president jokes Moore should have “her own toothbrush and wing” in the White House.

2. Moore has spoken out about gun violence in America

Before the Lynx’s game against the Dallas Wings on July 10, Moore and her teammates spoke in a press conference wearing shirts that read “Change starts with us – Justice & Accountability” on the front and “Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Black Lives Matter” on the back.

“If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change,” Moore told reporters. “Tonight we will be wearing shirts to honor and mourn the losses of precious American citizens and to plead for change in all of us.”

3. Her favorite music genre is a “gospel-hip hop mix”

“I don’t have many superstitions, but I do have a few things I like to do out of routine and habit before a game. I listen to music on the bus or in the car on the way to a game,” Moore explains. Here’s what the basketball star is listening to right now:
1. “All I Need Is You” by Lecrae
2. “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann
3. “Sweet Victory” by Trip Lee
4. “Wake” by Hillsong Young & Free
5. “We Won’t Numb the Pain” by Tenth Avenue North

Related Video: 5 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles

4. She’s wacky for chunky guacamole

Moore admits she can’t stay away from a good dip.

“One thing my fans don’t know about me is how much I love guacamole!” Moore says. “But it has to be a little chunky and just a little bit spicy.”

5. She can’t wait to play with Diana Taurasi in Rio

Moore says one of the best things about the Olympics is getting to team up with her WNBA competitors.

“We come together and I can now pass to Diana instead of trying to guard her,” she explains. “I can set screens for her!”

The basketball star says the team doesn’t begin practicing together until two weeks before the Olympics.

“We travel around the country and scrimmage other teams or travel around Europe an scrimmage other teams,” she says. “It’s remarkable what we can do in that time and how efficient we have to be in that time.”

For more of PEOPLE’s Olympic coverage, pick up our collector’s edition, The Best of the Games, on sale now.

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