Feb. 26 (UPI) — Former WNBA star Renee Montgomery made history Friday as the first former player to become an owner and executive of a WNBA team when the league approved the sale of the Atlanta Dream to a group led by investor Larry Gottesdiener.
Suzanne Abair, the president of Gottesdiener’s Northland Investment Corp., a real estate firm, also is part of the three-member investor group that purchased the team from former Sen. Kelly Loeffler and fellow former Dream owner Kelly Brock.
“My Dream has come true,” Montgomery said in a news release. “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!”
The WNBA and its board of governors approved the sale Friday by unanimous vote. The WNBA announced Jan. 20 that the purchase was close to finalized.
Athletes from the WNBA, NBA and other leagues criticized Loeffler last summer when she wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cath Engelbert that was critical of the league’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement and player protests against racial inequality.
“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,” Engelbert said in a news release.
“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.”
Montgomery said she opted out of the 2020 WNBA season in June to focus on “social justice reform.” She announced her retirement Feb. 9.
The University of Connecticut product played 11 seasons in the WNBA. She was an All-Star in 2011 and a two-time WNBA champion. She appeared in 364 games for the Dream, Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm.