LeBron James, team owner. It rings even sweeter for many given the team he wants to co-own.
After Raphael Warnock was named the winner in one of the the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia over Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler, James took to Twitter with a declaration. And we know he follows through on them.
“Think I’m gone put together an ownership group for the The Dream. Whose [sic] in?” James wrote with a photo of the 2020 Dream roster in “Vote Warnock” T-shirts.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 6, 2021
The sports world has applauded the Dream and WNBA players for their efforts in flipping Georgia and electing Warnock, a Black pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to lead. They have consistently been at the forefront of activism, particularly since it has always come to them.
It’s proof the world is watching the league, even if naysayers can scream louder into the void, and support from one of the NBA’s biggest names would give it another boost.
WNBA Players Association president Nneka Ogwumike, who led a banner year for the league, is on board.
I’m here if you need some help, big bro.
— Nneka Ogwumike (@Nnemkadi30) January 6, 2021
She wrote a “HOW TO HELP” Google doc this summer for ideas on helping women in sports. No. 1 was to buy U.S. Sen. Loeffler’s stake in the Dream. Ogwumike amended the document with “Buy FORMER U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s ownership” by Wednesday afternoon.
Dream help get Warnock elected over co-owner
That was not different this summer when Dream co-owner and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler wrote an open letter to league commissioner Cathy Engelbert dismissing the support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Loeffler was running against 20 opponents in the special election for her Senate seat, which she was appointed to in January 2020 when Johnny Isakson resigned.
The WNBA and its players, led by Seattle Storm veteran Sue Bird and the Dream, decided instead of giving Loeffler any publicity they would take a different approach. They found their values aligned with Warnock and endorsed him. He was polling at 9 percent at the time, while Loeffler was at 26 percent. Warnock is now Georgia’s first Black senator and the Senate could flip to the Democrats depending on the outcome of the other Georgia runoff.
Should LeBron buy the WNBA’s Dream?
James would automatically bring a boost to the team and the league as a whole if he gets together an ownership group. It’s akin to the WNBA orange hoodie that the late Kobe Bryant first wore around this time last year. He brought legitimacy to the league and people who looked up to him, both young and old, started tuning in to what he liked watching.
The league is already buzzing and on the upswing with a new CBA, an exciting free agency, a better approach to marketing, increased TV deals and a stellar product on the court. James’ purchase of the team can only lift it even further.
It’d be practically nothing money-wise for James to purchase and run the team, especially if there were other celebrities jumping on board. Via Her Hoop Stats, his budget for taking care of his body is higher than the Dream’s total salaries.
Would be great to see. Did you know @KingJames spends more per year taking care of his body than the Dream will spend on salaries this year? $1.5MM via @AlexKennedyNBA for LeBron, the 2021 WNBA Salary Cap is $1.34MM.
Here's the Dream's Salary Cap Sheet: https://t.co/IKFYtlGulI https://t.co/Dj5DACreHR
— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) January 6, 2021
Even if he doesn’t purchase the team, there’s a lot James can do to note this moment in history. There is a lack of documentaries on female athletes of any type and the WNBA’s work in 2020 especially would be the perfect project to begin remedying that.
Oh and @KingJames we would love for @TheSpringHillCo to do a documentary on the @WNBA’s impact on the Georgia Senate race. We have already selected your producer/director—> @MsPeters14. pic.twitter.com/7WWNm2u3mf
— LaChina Robinson (@LaChinaRobinson) January 6, 2021
The Dream were named in honor of Atlanta native Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Celebrities show interest in Dream
WNBA players responded to James on Wednesday, including current Dream star Renee Montgomery. The veteran took the 2020 season off to work toward social and racial justice but it counts as a year of service in the WNBA CBA. She will become a free agent and as of October seemed unlikely to return to Atlanta.
Kevin Hart, a member of James’ More Than a Vote, retweeted the message with “Say less....I’m in.” Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts said to count him in and others have voiced support. Former NBA player Baron Davis has previously said he’d buy Loeffler’s stake in the team.
Dream ownership was a bright spot before 2020
The Dream’s ownership structure was a bright spot before Loeffler began her U.S. Senate campaigning. They were an all-women ownership team that took over in 2011 and in previous interviews Loeffler praised the players and their presence as community role models. In a time when there are calls for “women supporting women,” the Dream at one point were a shining example of that.
Loeffler made clear in July that she won’t sell her stake in the team. It came after the WNBPA and league met to discuss Loeffler’s role going forward, and before the public support of her opponent. Candace Parker, one of the league’s biggest stars, said there’s “no place in the league for her,” though Engelbert said the league won’t force Loeffler to sell.
But there were reports around the same time that Loeffler and Mary Brock had been looking to sell the team for a while.
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