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Table: Axios Visuals

The Atlanta Dream were sold over the weekend to a three-person ownership group that includes former WNBA star Renee Montgomery.

Why it matters: After Dream co-owner and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler denounced the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, WNBA players pushed for her to sell the team, while also helping lead a grassroots movement to elect Raphael Warnock to her Senate seat.

  • With this sale, both campaigns have now proven successful.

Leading the purchase this weekend were Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair, the chairman and COO, respectively, of Northland, a Boston-based real estate equity firm.

Renee Montgomery. Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Of note: Montgomery, 34, who retired this month after sitting out the 2020 season to focus on social justice initiatives, is the first former player to be part of a WNBA ownership group.

"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."
— Montgomery

The backdrop: When the WNBA was founded in 1996, all eight teams were located in cities with existing NBA teams and, by rule, shared ownership.

  • By 2002, the NBA began allowing outside ownership groups to buy into the expanding league.
  • Now, less than half of the league's 12 teams share NBA ownership.

The landscape:

  • Five teams share ownership with their NBA brother team: The Fever (Pacers), Liberty (Nets), Mystics (Wizards), Mercury (Suns) and Lynx (Timberwolves).
  • Three teams share ownership with another pro sports team: The Aces (Raiders), Sparks (Dodgers) and Wings (Bill Cameron is a part-owner of the Thunder).
  • The Sun are owned by the Native American-operated Mohegan Sun casino, the Storm are owned by an all-female group, and the Sky are owned by real estate developer Michael Alter.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.