WNBA Team Ditches Kelly Loeffler for New Ownership
After a year of protests and objections to being under the ownership of former Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), an anti-Black Lives Matter conservative, the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Dream has been sold, the organization announced on Friday.
The WNBA green-lighted the sale of the team to Larry Gottesdeiner, chairman of the real estate giant Northland, whose co-owners are Northland Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Abair and former Dream superstar Renee Montgomery.
“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 Engelbert said in a statement. “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.”
Gottesdeiner called it “a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who strive for excellence on the court and equity off the court” and that he “would like to express my gratitude to Commissioner Engelbert, Commissioner Silver, and the WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors for the opportunity.”
Montgomery, who recently retired with two championships under her belt, has had her sights set on owning a team for years, and “will be the first former player to become both an owner and executive of a WNBA team,” the WNBA noted.
“My Dream has come true,” said 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!”
Loeffler and her ex-partner Mary Brock, meanwhile, said that “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.”
Loeffler lost her seat to Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock in a hotly contested race in November’s election.