Madison Square Garden Company Announces Intention to Sell New York Liberty

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

NEW YORK,NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Here is an image of the New York Liberty logo prior to the game against the Washington Mystics during game One of the WNBA Semi-Finals at Madison Square Garden on September 18, 2015 in New York, New York NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The Madison Square Garden Company announced Tuesday it intends to sell the WNBA's New York Liberty.

Executive chairman and chief executive officer of The Madison Square Garden Company James Dolan said the following regarding the decision in a statement:

"We have been a strong and vocal advocate for the Liberty and the WNBA since the beginning. As the last original owner, I am proud of how far the league has come, and the role we have played in its growth. This was a difficult decision for us, which we made after carefully assessing the needs of our business. We are confident that new ownership can build on the foundation we established over these last 21 years, and steward this incredible franchise into an even more successful future."

The Liberty entered the WNBA upon the league's founding in 1996 as one of the original eight franchises, and it stands as the second-winningest team in league history with 371 victories.

As part of the statement, Dolan expressed gratitude toward Basketball Hall of Famer and Liberty President Isiah Thomas:

"I would like to thank Isiah, and the Liberty players and coaching staff, who have made great progress in strengthening and growing the franchise. Under Isiah's leadership, the team has broadened its roster of top sponsors, increased its passionate fanbase, and developed a solid team built for long-term competitiveness. The Liberty now presents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner to bring new resources, creativity and focus to ensure the team becomes an enduring success."

The Liberty have made the playoffs 15 times in 21 seasons, and they have reached the WNBA Finals on four occasions.

New York hasn't made the Finals since 2002, and it has yet to win a championship.

The Liberty are coming off one of their best seasons, as they went 22-12 and finished first in the Eastern Conference due largely to Tina Charles' performance (19.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 apg).

Despite their strong regular-season play, the Liberty were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Washington Mystics.