The Atlanta Dream franchise has stayed in the WNBA headlines for a while now. Former team co-owner and Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler made critical comments about the league’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Former player Renee Montgomery just exacted sweet revenge on the politician.
The WNBA announced the sale of the team to a three-person investment group, and the former Dream player is a part of it. Montgomery makes league history as she embarks on her latest career path.
Renee Montgomery makes history as part of the Atlanta Dream ownership group
Retired WNBA player Renee Montgomery is a part of an investment team that purchased the Atlanta Dream on Feb. 26, according to Yahoo! Sports. Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair join the two-time WNBA champion as part of the ownership group. Both are a part of the real estate agency, Northland, with Gottesdiener serving as the chairman, and Abair is the chief operating officer.
“I am also thrilled that former WNBA star Renee Montgomery will be joining the ownership group as an investor and executive for the team. Renee is a trailblazer who has made a major impact both in the game and beyond,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement per Yahoo! Sports.
Montgomery makes history with her new title of Atlanta Dream co-owner. She is the first former WNBA player to become an owner or executive of a team. The former University of Connecticut star played her final two seasons of her career with Atlanta.
“Breaking barriers for minorities and women by being the first former WNBA player to have both a stake in ownership and a leadership role with the team is an opportunity that I take very seriously. I invite you to join me as the Dream builds momentum in Atlanta,” Montgomery said in a statement.
The WNBA’s battle with Kelly Loeffler
The purchase of the Atlanta Dream ends the Kelly Loeffler era in the WNBA. The former senator faced backlash for her comments about the BLM movement during the summer of 2020. Many former and current players spoke out, demanding that she lose her ownership stake.
After commissioner Engelbert said the league would not force Loeffler to give up her ownership stake per Yahoo! Sports, the players decided to hit the 50-year-old politician where it hurts the most.
During their season in the bubble, players wore shirts that read “Vote Warnock.” Reverend Raphael Warnock was Loeffler’s opponent for the 2020 Georgia Senate election. The players were vital in increasing his popularity and raising money for his campaign. Warnock said he received over $150,000 over the next 48 hours after the WNBA players wore their shirts, according to The Washington Post.
The boost in Warnock’s profile helped him force a runoff election in January of 2021. The league and its players continued to advertise the 51-year-old politician and his policies. The effort the WNBA players put in paid off as Warnock defeated Loeffler in the runoff election. More signs pointed to the former senator’s time as co-owner of the Atlanta Dream was coming to an end.
According to Yahoo! Sports, players weren’t interested in playing for the team as long as Loeffler was the owner. Athletes refusing to join the Dream could cause a competitive imbalance in the league. All signs pointed to the former owner having to sell her ownership stake.
Renee Montgomery exacts sweet revenge on Kelly Loeffler
There might’ve been no better way for Kelly Loeffler to leave the WNBA than handing the Atlanta Dream to one of her former players. It could be the perfect form of revenge for Renee Montgomery. Amid the Loeffler drama in 2020, the star guard posted a tweet voicing her displeasure with her former owner’s comments.
The social awakening sparked by the death of George Floyd took America by storm during the summer of 2020. Montgomery saw this as an opportunity to positively impact her society and opted out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on racial and social justice causes. On Feb. 10, she announced her retirement from the league, and the 34-year-old was serious about her desire to purchase the Atlanta Dream.
“Listen, I’m interested. I think that people talking about it are actually serious. I’m actually serious,” Montgomery told TMZ Sports.
The Kelly Loeffler era in the WNBA is finally over. It’s fitting that a trailblazer in women’s sports and a former Dream player take control of the franchise. Renee Montgomery is continuing to open doors for women in sports with her newest job title: the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream.