Renee Montgomery recently became the first former WNBA player to become an executive and owner of a WNBA franchise. Montgomery now owns the Atlanta Dream along with Northland real estate firm chairman Larry Gottesdiener and Northland president and COO Suzanne Abair.
“My dream has come true,” Montgomery said. “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, a two-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, spent her last two seasons with the Dream. She opted out of the 2020 season to fight for social justice.
Meanwhile, the WNBA was also fighting for justice by dedicating the 2020 season to Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name. Former Atlanta Dream co-owner and former Atlanta senator, Kelly Loeffler opposed the league’s social justice efforts.
Her actions caused WNBA players to endorse Raphael Warnock, a democrat running against her in the Senate runoffs. The efforts from WNBA players played a quintessential role in Warnock defeating Loeffler. She ultimately sold her 49 percent stake in the Atlanta Dream.
Sparks star and WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike mentioned how the league supported the players during that time. She noted how beneficial it is to have owners who want to represent the players as citizens.
“I think that it’s reflective of the impact that we want to have on our league,” Ogwumike said. “We love this league; we have players who’s backs we stand on.”
Ogwumike is glad that former players are actively working to change the WNBA. Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry sends high praise to Montgomery.
“Really just speaks for itself in terms of how you flip a terrible situation and misrepresentation of what the WNBA is about on its head,” Curry said. “For Renee and that group to come in, it’s just awesome to see. It’s very inspirational in terms of where we’re all headed, turning these conversations into actual action and opportunity and accomplishment like that.”
The More Than a Vote campaign, an organization created by Lakers star LeBron James, helped Montgomery meet with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert about team ownership.
Like James, Montgomery hopes to build a legacy that goes beyond the hardwood. They both know how impactful their voice is.
“You can just ask Renee Montgomery if I would just shut up and dribble,” he said. “Seeing that beautiful Black woman … be a part of an ownership group now with the Atlanta Dream.”
Montgomery spent 11 seasons in the WNBA, playing for the Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm, Minnesota Lynx, and Atlanta Dream. She was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 Draft and ultimately averaged 9.7 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.0 steals in her career. Her 532 total career three-point shots would rank at 12th all-time in WNBA history.