The MSR is the only local media that has covered the Minnesota Lynx from the start of its 25-year existence, as the team became the Twin Cities’ most successful pro franchise. Before this season, the team chose its top-25 players in Lynx history and held their 25th-anniversary celebration the weekend of June 9-11, where the MSR spoke to several of the honored players. This week: Renee Montgomery (2009, 2015-17)
Renee Montgomery is now the only WNBA player who later became a team owner. She is Atlanta Dream vice-president and part-owner, a member of a three-person ownership group that bought the club a few years ago.
Her 11-year career included two different stints with Minnesota, who drafted Montgomery fourth overall in 2009. As a player, the 5’7” guard quickly won over Lynx fans with her neverending energy on the court. To call her a pest is indeed a compliment to her play, as she constantly put pressure on opponents.
Born and raised in West Virginia, she attended college at UConn, where she was a four-year all-Big East performer. She became the first Husky to make the “Huskies of Honor” while still playing in her senior year, when she helped lead the team to a 39-0 season and a national title. Montgomery is in the school’s top 10 in many categories, including games played, career points, shooting, three-point shooting, free throws, assists, and steals.
Montgomery also secured her place in team history after her rookie season when she made the league All-Rookie squad, averaging nine points, two assists and nearly two boards a contest. She was then traded to Connecticut in 2010 for Lindsay Whalen, a very key piece in the Lynx’s eventual dynasty run.
Montgomery played for the Sun for five seasons. Then, after a half-season in Seattle, she returned to Minnesota, again in a swap of guards as the Storm traded her for Monica Wright. Montgomery, Whalen and Wright all are members of the Lynx’s All-25 team named this year.
In Montgomery’s second stint with the Lynx, she continued her pesky ways as a top reserve, causing havoc and headaches for opponents. Her play helped Minnesota win their final two championships in 2015 and 2017.
She finished her career in Atlanta, where she signed as a free agent in 2018. After two seasons there, she opted out of the 2020 season in protest against the police shootings of Black people and the coronavirus. Besides staying healthy, Montgomery focused instead on social justice causes. She became a studio analyst for the WNBA and college basketball games.
Montgomery officially retired in February 2021, which coincided with her making history by joining the new Dream ownership group, to buy the club from then-Georgia U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler was pressured to sell by her team and other players around the league after she publicly criticized the players’ racial justice activism. Loeffler later lost her Senate seat; many credit WNBA players’ all-out efforts to urge Georgia voters not to elect her.
About a month before the Dream sale in 2021, the now-retired guard became a part owner of the FCF Beasts of Fan Controlled Football, a now dormant professional 7-on-7 indoor football league.
“I think it’s a progression—player to ownership,” said Montgomery proudly. “It should be a pathway [for other players] if they so choose. I hope that we start to see that more.
“I didn’t feel like I was out of place,” she noted. “I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do the job. So, I hope that other athletes start to think about that.”
During the weekend-long celebration of the team’s all-time greats in June, Montgomery again was her typical exuberant self. Teammates embraced her, even those she hadn’t played with.
“We’re here because this matters, and being a part of what we did here was a big part of our lives,” said Montgomery, who also got to dance on stage with Prince at Paisley Park when the late singer threw an all-night post-game party and concert after the Lynx won the 2017 title.
“This is literally a reunion for us right now,” she said and smiled, acknowledging this reporter’s place in team history as well. “We’re like all homies now.”
Next featured Lynx Greats player: Janel McCarville