ATLANTA – The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream on Friday to Larry Gottesdiener, chairman of Northland, an industry-leading national real estate firm, and his investment group. Among the new owners of the team along with Gottesdiener are Northland President and COO Suzanne Abair and former Atlanta Dream player Renee Montgomery, who had recently announced her retirement after 11 years in the league.
“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,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “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.”
In a written statement, Gottesdiener expressed appreciation for the opportunity to help usher the team into a new era.
“It is a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who strive for excellence on the court and equity off the court,” said Larry Gottesdiener. “I would like to express my gratitude to Commissioner Engelbert, Commissioner Silver, and the WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors for the opportunity.”
With the sale, the recently retired Montgomery will become the first former WNBA player to be an owner and executive of a WNBA team. That it happens to be the team she has a personal history with made this even sweeter for her.
“My Dream has come true,” said Montgomery, who will be running the day to day operations of the team. “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!”
Former ownership group Dream Too LLC (Mary Brock and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler) commented on the sale as well, thanking the team and wishing them well.
“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,” Brock and Loeffler said. “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.”
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation’s Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women’s basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, “The Triple Double”. A self-described “foodaholic”, Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, “Conscious Cravings”, where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.