Two-time WNBA champion Renee Montgomery has made her mark on the court, and now she's making history off it.
Montgomery is part of a three-member ownership group that received approval from the WNBA on Friday to purchase the Atlanta Dream. As part of the group, she will become the first former player to be both an owner and executive of a WNBA team. Larry Gottesdiener, chairman of Northland, a national real estate firm, and Northland president and COO Suzanne Abair round out the group.
The Dream was previously co-owned by Mary Brock and former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, but the franchise has been in turmoil over the past year following Loeffler's critical comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. The player's union called for Loeffler's removal last summer, and by mid-January of this year, Loeffler and Brock were expected to sell their portions of the team.
With Montgomery becoming a player-turned-owner, here's what you should know about the former guard.
She Played for the Dream for Two Seasons
Montgomery spent the last two seasons of her career in Atlanta, helping the Dream reach the WNBA semifinals in 2018. She also played with the Sun, Storm and Lynx, with whom she won both her titles. In her 11-year career, Montgomery earned WNBA All-Star honors in 2011 and was named the WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year in 2012. She opted out of the 2020 season last June in order to pursue social justice reform and announced her retirement from the league earlier this month.
Montgomery Is Making Boss Moves
During Friday's press conference with Atlanta's new co-owners, Montgomery mentioned multiple notable athletes who influenced her decision to invest in women's sports. She gave shoutouts to WNBA legend Candace Parker and tennis star Naomi Osaka who both have invested in National Women's Soccer League teams. Montgomery also said she had a conversation with Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi at the 2020 NBA All-Star in Chicago about becoming a team owner one day, while LeBron James's tweet about putting together a Dream ownership group additionally inspired her.
She Started Her Own Foundation in 2019 to Serve Atlanta
According to its website, The Renee Montgomery Foundation "strives to promote love, positivity, and equality to all" in its work with the Atlanta community. The foundation's initiatives include Remember the 3rd program, which focused on increasing the community's involvement in local politics through the creation of workshops and pep rallies. Montgomery was also involved with More than a Vote (a group co-founded by James to combat systemic voter suppression) as well as Last Yard, which raises money to improve education at HBCUs.
She's Comfortable in the Broadcast Booth
This season, Montgomery joined FOX Sports Southeast as a studio analyst for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. She previously served as a guest analyst in 2020.
On top of her broadcasting duties, Montgomery recently started a podcast called Remotely Renee. The podcast covers everything from sports to entertainment to activism and helps people learn how to navigate the "new normal of connecting while being remote" amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Montgomery even announced her retirement from the WNBA on her podcast.
Montgomery Is Ready to Make the Dream a "Destination" Team
After playing in Atlanta for two years, Montgomery is excited to keep contributing to the work of political and business leaders across Atlanta.
"All the things that we wanted as players, it's happening here in Atlanta, and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of that. Atlanta the city is full of powerful women," she said at Friday's press conference.
Both Montgomery and Gottesdiener also touched on their vision for expanding the Dream franchise.
"We're going to make it a destination... 'It's hard to turn down the Dream,' that's going to be my goal," Montgomery said.