ATLANTA — Former Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery made historical past on Friday as a part of a three-member investor group that was accredited to buy the workforce.
The possession change follows strain on former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican who angered WNBA gamers along with her opposition to the league’s racial justice initiatives, to promote her share of the Dream.
Actual property investor Larry Gottesdiener was accredited as majority proprietor of the workforce. The investor group additionally contains Montgomery and Suzanne Abair, president of Northland Funding Corp. in Massachusetts, the agency Gottesdiener based.
Montgomery turns into the primary former participant to grow to be each an proprietor and govt of a WNBA franchise. She mentioned she would play an lively position with Abair within the management of the workforce.
“I’ll be working with Suzanne and he or she’s going to prepared the ground,” Montgomery mentioned.
Montgomery mentioned she first started contemplating her position in an possession group after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted about the potential of being a part of such a gaggle.
“That tweet prompted my thoughts,” Montgomery mentioned, including she “began to determine if that might grow to be an actual chance.”
She mentioned she additionally was motivated by James’ position within the “Extra Than a Vote” marketing campaign that labored to extend voter turnout and cut back voter suppression within the Black neighborhood.
James applauded Montgomery’s possession position by posting on Twitter: “So happy with this Queen. That is every part we’re about!”
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 26, 2021
Montgomery sat out the 2020 season to concentrate on social justice points and just lately introduced her retirement from the league after 11 seasons and two WNBA championships.
“I believe it is nice that Renee has stepped up after she retired from taking part in the sport to proceed having an influence on the sport,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned Friday. “I’ve seen her sturdy work ethic. I’ve seen her advocacy and information of the sport and I am certain that is going to be an asset to Larry and Suzanne and an enormous profit to the workforce.”
The 34-year-old Montgomery gained WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx in 2015 and 2017. She was an All-Star with the Connecticut Solar in 2011, when she set a profession excessive along with her common of 14.6 factors per sport. She was the WNBA’s Sixth Girl of the Yr in 2012.
The approval by the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors was anticipated and unanimous. It means co-owner Mary Brock additionally bought her share of the workforce. Although his enterprise is predicated in Newton, Massachusetts, Gottesdiener (pronounced Acquired-es-DEE-ner) mentioned the workforce will stay in Atlanta.
“That is an Atlanta asset,” Gottesdiener mentioned. “The Dream is not going anyplace.”
The WNBA introduced on Jan. 20 the possession change was near being accomplished. Gamers across the league had referred to as for Loeffler to promote her 49% stake within the Dream after she wrote a letter to Engelbert over the summer time objecting to the league’s advocacy for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter motion.
Dream gamers wore “Vote Warnock” T-shirts in help of Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, who defeated Loeffler in Georgia’s Senate runoff. Warnock’s victory, together with Jon Ossoff’s win in Georgia’s different runoff, handed management of the Senate to Democrats. The high-profile campaigning towards Loeffler by gamers on a workforce she owned was credited with boosting Warnock’s candidacy.
“I wish to take this time to thank the WNBA gamers, significantly the Dream gamers,” Engelbert mentioned Friday. “They had been put in a troublesome place. I used to be happy with the best way they dealt with the scenario. They stood for his or her values, they stood for professionalism. They served as position fashions with their advocacy and proceed to do this.”
Gottesdiener mentioned the Dream gamers captured his consideration and respect.
“The final yr, the gamers of the Dream refused to only shut up and dribble,” Gottesdiener mentioned. “They discovered their collective voice and the world listened. We had been impressed by these courageous ladies who advocated sports activities and activism within the midst of the pandemic and we wish to have fun and honor them. We’re significantly proud to be stewards of this workforce on this metropolis presently.”
Engelbert, Montgomery and Gottesdiener wouldn’t rehash the controversy in a convention name on Friday. As an alternative, they saved their concentrate on the workforce’s future.
“Immediately does mark a brand new starting for the Atlanta Dream group,” Engelbert mentioned.
Montgomery mentioned her new position can set a tone.
“Breaking limitations for minorities and girls by being the primary former WNBA participant to have each a stake in possession and a management position with the workforce is a chance that I take very critically,” Montgomery mentioned.
Montgomery is in her first season as a studio analyst on Atlanta Hawks broadcasts for Fox Sports activities Southeast. She mentioned she plans to proceed in that position.
Montgomery gained titles with the Minnesota Lynx in 2015 and 2017. She was an All-Star with the Connecticut Solar in 2011, when she set a profession excessive along with her common of 14.6 factors per sport. She was the WNBA’s Sixth Girl of the Yr in 2012.