Eleven-year WNBA veteran Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from basketball on Tuesday.
She is stepping away from a successful professional career highlighted by a Sixth Woman of the Year award and a pair of WNBA championships.
In an emotional installment of her podcast, Remotely Renee, Montgomery thanked her coaches, teammates, family and fiancé for supporting her on a “wild, crazy journey” while expressing excitement for her future. Montgomery promised that even though her playing days are now over, she’ll be staying around the game of basketball in some capacity.
A 5-foot-7 guard from West Virginia, Montgomery enjoyed a successful collegiate career at UConn, winning the Nancy Lieberman and Naismith Awards in 2009 for a Huskies team that went a perfect 39-0 and won an NCAA Women’s Championship.
She finished her UConn career with 1,990 points and 199 assists — the latter of which ranks sixth in UConn women’s basketball history.
Montgomery was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx and earned All-Rookie honors for her play that season. She was then traded to Connecticut, where she put up the biggest individual numbers of her professional career, averaging double-digit points per game in four consecutive seasons with the Sun.
Montgomery was named a WNBA All-Star in 2011 and won the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year award in 2012.
After spending half of the 2015 season with the Seattle Storm, Montgomery was traded back to Minnesota, where she helped the Lynx with their third championship in five seasons. She then moved on to the Atlanta Dream, where she would play the final two seasons of her WNBA career.
Prior to the 2020 WNBA season, Montgomery announced that she would be opting out and instead of playing focus on community work and social justice reform in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. In a heartfelt article for The Players’ Tribune, Montgomery explained her decision within the context of racism she and her family had experienced while also expressing hope that a better, more just America is possible through organization and hard work:
I’m doing this for my nephews. I have nephews that are 21, 18, 17 — they’re 6′ 4″, 6′ 5″, and some people are going to see them as a threat. If they get pulled over, no one’s going to care about no WNBA relative or anything like that. Either of them could be the next hashtag.
I’m standing up now so that we don’t have another hashtag.
Up early calling the @nbagleague pic.twitter.com/PK2DjmGnPw— Renee Montgomery (@ReneeMontgomery) February 10, 2021
As for what’s next, Montgomery has been calling Atlanta Hawks games as a studio analyst for FOX Sports Southwest, and she has been featured on NBA G-League broadcasts. But don’t expect her community work to end. In her retirement video, Montgomery frequently addressed the summer of 2020 as a key point in her life, and with the WNBA’s increasing role in social justice reform and advocacy to end suppression of voters’ rights, expect to see Montgomery in the spotlight now more than ever.