Black History Month is going out with a bang and Black women are leading the way. First, TIAA announced that Thasunda Brown Duckett would be the next CEO of the Fortune 500 company. Now, news has emerged that WNBA star Renee Montgomery has been named the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. The WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the franchise to an investment group that includes Montgomery and two executives from the leading real estate firm, Northland. She will become the first former player in franchise history to own a portion of the team.
“With the unanimous WNBA and NBA votes, today marks a new beginning for the Atlanta Dream organization and we are very pleased to welcome Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair to the WNBA,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert said.
"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.”
The sale becomes official after members of the team spent the summer advocating for the removal of former owner Kelly Loeffler. The former Senator and WNBA owner was well known as a supporter and ally of former President Donald Trump. Things between Loeffler and the players became even tenser when she publicly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion," Loeffler wrote in a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert.
After the letter was shared with the public, WNBA stars like Skylar Diggins and Natasha Cloud jumped in and called for her removal from the league. While sitting out the season to combat social injustice across the country, Montgomery issued a statement of her own.
"I’m pretty sad to see that my team ownership is not supportive of the movement & all that it stands for. I was already sitting out this season and this is an example of why. I would love to have a conversation with you about the matter if you’re down," Montgomery tweeted.
As time went on, Loeffler made inflammatory comments about Sen. Raphael Warnock and openly criticized the uprisings following the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. Following the season, the former Senator made it clear that she would not be returning as the owner for the upcoming season. As a result, it opened the door for Montgomery to make history.
The Atlanta Dream will kickoff their 2021 season with Montgomery at the helm this summer.
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