According to TMZ Sports and other outlets, former WNBA player Renee Montgomery is now a WNBA franchise owner. Montgomery has partnered with two real estate executives (Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair, both of the Northland real estate firm) to purchase the Atlanta Dream from its former owners, including ex-Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler, for an undisclosed sum.
Montgomery recently retired as a WNBA player after 11 seasons on the court, and the deal makes her the first former player to take ownership of a team in the league. Additionally, Montgomery stated in a news release that she hopes to be the first of many more to follow:
“My wish has been realized… Being the first former WNBA player to have both a stake in ownership and a leadership role with the ownership team is an opportunity that I take very seriously because it breaks down barriers for minorities and women. As the Dream gathers steam in Atlanta, I cordially welcome you to join me!”
Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian
Since Loeffler and Montgomery had political disagreements over the former’s support for Black Lives Matter protests last year, the agreement between Montgomery’s ownership cooperative and Loeffler has some political overtones. Loeffler is now taking over ownership of the team from the recently ousted former US senator.
But in their own statement on the agreement, Loeffler and fellow former co-owner Mary Brock maintained their cordial tone:
“We took action to maintain the Dream in Atlanta ten years ago because it is a crucial component of the city’s vibrancy and diversity. It was also important to us to help level the playing field for women’s professional sports. We are pleased with our work and wish the team luck in their further endeavors. We will always be grateful for the effort and devotion, as well as the memories, supporters, and friendships that have helped us stay committed to the Atlanta Dream over the past ten years.”
Montgomery owns a stake in several other sports organizations in addition to the Atlanta Dream. Early this year she formed a partnership with Marshawn Lynch, Mike Tyson, and pro wrestler Miro as owners of the Beasts in the Fan Controlled Football League, an indoor football league that was formed in 2017.