In a highly anticipated move, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream — co-owned by former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler — have been sold to an investor group following the backlash from Loeffler’s comments prior to January’s run-off election.
Loeffler, who held a 49 percent stake in the Dream, and co-owner Mary Brock will both sell their shares after the deal was unanimously approved by both the WNBA and NBA Board of Governers.
The Dream’s new investor group will be comprised of three members: lead owner Larry Gottesdiener; Suzanna Abair, president of Gottesdiener’s Northland Investment Corp.; and former WNBA star Renee Montgomery.
Montgomery, an 11-year veteran, played for the Dream in her last two seasons (she would sit out the 2020 season to focus on off-court initiatives like the Black Lives Matter movement) before announcing her retirement on Feb. 9. In direct contrast, Loeffler would write a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert criticizing the league’s support of Black Lives Matter Movement; the reason for the mounting pressure for her to sell her stake in the team
Upon retiring, Montgomery would reveal her deep-seeded affinity for Atlanta, saying:
“I bought a home in Georgia nine years ago and I retired as a member of the Atlanta Dream… I’ve always known I wanted to be here and now I feel intertwined in the Atlanta fabric and culture. Blessed to call this home. True to Atlanta.”
Montgomery becomes the first former player to become both an executive and an owner of a WNBA team.
Per an official press release from the WNBA, Montgomery would release a statement following Friday’s announcement:
“My Dream has come true,” said Renee Montgomery. “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!”
Englebert made a statement as well, saying “with the unanimous WNBA and NBA votes, today marks a new beginning for the Atlanta Dream organization… I admire their passion for women’s basketball, but more importantly, have been impressed with their values.
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.”
A gracious Gottesdiener would add that “it is a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who strive for excellence on the court and equity off the court… I would like to express my gratitude to Commissioner Engelbert, Commissioner Silver, and the WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors for the opportunity.”