Renee Montgomery retiring from WNBA to focus on social justice work

Liz Roscher
·3 min read

Former first-round draft pick Renee Montgomery announced on Tuesday that she's decided to retire from the WNBA after 11 seasons.

The former Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream star chose to make her announcement on her Youtube show, "Dear Basketball," and on her Twitter account.

As she told TMZ Sports, "I'm gonna hang up my Kobes!"

Montgomery, 34, won a national championship with UConn in 2009 before being selected by the Lynx with the fourth pick in the 2009 draft. The Lynx traded her to the Connecticut Sun in 2010, where she played for five seasons. During her time with the Sun, she was voted as an All-Star in 2011 and won the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year award in 2012.

The Sun traded Montgomery to the Seattle Storm in 2015, but was traded back to the Lynx in the middle of the season. It was fate, because she helped the Lynx to her first WNBA championship at the end of the season. She would win another one with the Lynx in 2017 after starting the final 12 games of the season. She left the Lynx after that season, becoming a free agent and signing with the Dream. She hit eight three-pointers in an August 2018 game against the New York Liberty, tying the then-record for three-pointers in a regular season game.

ATLANTA, GA  JULY 23: Atlanta's Renee Montgomery (21) shoots a free throw during the WNBA game between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Atlanta Dream on July 23rd, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from the WNBA after 11 seasons. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Montgomery focusing on social justice work

In her announcement, Montgomery said that she's retiring so she can continue to focus on her social justice work. "Moments Equal Momentum" is the motto of the Renee Montgomery Foundation, which operates in Atlanta. The foundation has worked on multiple projects in the community, like voter registration and helping financially challenged college students with grants to prevent them from dropping out.

Montgomery's decision to leave basketball behind is a continuation of what she did in 2020. As she wrote in the Players' Tribune, she chose to opt out of the WNBA restart so she could continue the momentum of her work in Atlanta.

All it takes is a single moment, a single choice to create momentum. All you need is a second to change everything. And suddenly, I just find myself standing in this moment.

If I go into the WNBA season, I know I won’t be able to give 100%, and that’s not fair to my coaches and teammates. And I also know that if I did go into the “bubble,” who knows what it’s gonna look like in four months, as far as the movement is concerned?

For me, I just want to make sure that I’m fuelling the movement and being a part of it.

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