Atlanta Dream sold to three-person investment group including Renee Montgomery

Photo Credit: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images

Kelly Loeffler’s reign of terror over the Atlanta Dream, and the WNBA, has officially come to an end.

It was announced that the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors approved of a sale that transfers the franchise from Loeffler and co-owner Mary Brock to a new three-person investment group that includes two executives from Northland, a Massachusetts-based investment firm.

Those two are Larry Gottesdiener, its chairman, as well as Suzanne Abair, Northland’s president and Chief Operating Officer.

The third person on the investment group – Renee Montgomery, who recently announced her retirement as a WNBA player on her “Remotely Renee” podcast.

Montgomery becomes the first former player to become an owner and executive of a team. She also owns a stake in the Marshawn Lynch-led ownership group as part of the Fan Controlled Football League. Lynch’s team, the Beasts, play in Atlanta.

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. 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.

–Cathy Engelbert, WNBA commissioner (release)

It is a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who strive for excellence on the court and equity off the court.

–Larry Gottesdiener (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 tou join me as the Dream builds momentum in Atlanta!

–Renee Montgomery (release)

Ten years ago we stepped up to keep the Dream in Atlanta, as an important asset for a vibrant and diverse city. It was also important to us to help level the playing field for women’s professional sports. We are proud of what we accomplished and wish the team well in their next chapter. We will always value the hard work and dedication, and the memories, fans and friendships that sustained our commitment to the Atlanta Dream over the last decade.

–Mary Brock, Kelly Loeffler joint statement (release)

Loeffler’s trek to becoming now an ex-WNBA owner began when she was appointed to former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat by Georgia governor Brian Kemp. Prior to the WNBA entering last year’s bubble, she made caustic comments regarding open carry by Black Americans as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.

She event requested the WNBA put American flags on every uniform prior to the bubble.

WNBA players responded by wearing T-shirts that were inscribed with “Vote Warnock” on them. They were a show of support for Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and a Democrat who was challenging for Loeffler’s seat.

Prior to the WNBA players’ show of support, Warnock was struggling in polls and with fundraising. He got a noticeable poll bounce after his name recognition rose thanks to WNBA players backing him from the Wubble.

Warnock advanced to the runoff against Loeffler on January 5th, and despite tight polls, Warnock defeated Loeffler. He also lifted fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff to a victory in his Georgia senate race against David Perdue, who recently announced he would not seek a 2022 Senate run.

Stacey Abrams, a member of the WNBPA’s Board of Advocates and expected to run for Georgia governor in 2022, was an instrumental figure in the Warnock and Ossoff victories.

The Dream will play its first season at Gateway Center Arena this year.

The move marks the second WNBA team to be sold this offseason after MGM Resorts sold the Las Vegas Aces to Raiders owner Mark Davis, who has already pledged to build a new training center for the team in the Vegas suburb of Henderson.

There are also continued rumors about the Minnesota Lynx (and Timberwolves) possibly being put on the market by its owner, Glen Taylor.

As for the Dream…

Since the announcement, the Dream have stayed in the news via its free agency signing of veteran Odyssey Sims …

…and the announcement of Brooklyn Cartwright, former coach at South Carolina State, as the team’s new president of basketball operations.

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