Kelly Loeffler, Mary Brock Officially Sell Ownership in WNBA's Atlanta Dream

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIFebruary 26, 2021

FILE - In this Friday, March 20, 2020, file photo, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, waits to speak in a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington. WNBA players have urged people to vote against Atlanta Dream co-owner Loeffler, a Republican U.S. senator running to keep her seat in Georgia. Loeffler, who spoke out publicly against the league’s social justice plans and sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement once the season began last month, is facing opposition from Raphael Warnock. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has sold the WNBA's Atlanta Dream following opposition from players across the league—including those on her team.

Per an official release, the WNBA approved the Dream's sale from Loeffler and Mary Brock to an investor group led by Larry Gottesdiener, the chairman of real estate firm Northland.

Two-time WNBA champion and former Dream star Renee Montgomery is also part of the team's new ownership group, along with Northland president and chief operating officer Suzanne Abair.

Montgomery said in a statement: "My Dream has come true. 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!"

The WNBA released a statement last month noting the team's sale was "close to being finalized."

As players across the WNBA and NBA led a push for social justice last summer, Loeffler, then a Republican senator for Georgia, said the Black Lives Matter movement is "based on Marxist principles" and is "a radical movement that seeks to destroy American principles." She previously wrote a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert calling for the American flag to appear on jerseys in the WNBA bubble, rather than the planned messages for promoting racial equality.

Last month, she was pictured alongside Chester Doles, a white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi National Alliance, though she claimed to not know who he was.

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Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud told CNN Tonight in July (h/t USA Today):

"For her to come out and say we're divisive and that Black Lives Matter's movement is a divisive organization, I call BS on that. (The Atlanta Dream) in itself, their starting five is all black females. ... To be a partial owner in that and cheer on the sidelines and support your players, but you don't support them when they take those uniforms off, it's a problem."

As Loeffler sought reelection, players actively protested. In August, players on the Dream and across the league wore T-shirts encouraging voters to choose Rev. Raphael Warnock, one of Loeffler's Democratic challengers. The players' efforts played a role in helping Warnock earn a run-off election against Loeffler and then defeat her in that run-off in January, helping the Democratic party take control of the U.S. Senate.

Loeffler previously stood firm in her refusal to give up her 49 percent stake in the team, which she had co-owned since 2011. Brock, a Georgia businesswoman, was the majority owner of the team with 51 percent.