The Atlanta Glory is the first WABA team in history of Atlanta Metro Area.
Dwight Martin may not have the reputation of Michael Alter, WNBA Chicago Sky owner or Sheila Johnson, Washington WNBA Mystics Owner but like these WNBA owners, the twenty-eight-year old has found his passion of owning an all Women’s American Basketball team, The Atlanta Glory.
In fact, the last time Atlanta,Georgia had a pro-women’s basketball team was in 1996-1998. Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to chat with Dwight Martin about his new ownership of the Atlanta Glory Women’s basketball team that took place on July 28, 2011.
The Atlanta Glory is a professional basketball team affiliated with the Women’s American Basketball Association (WABA). According to Dwight, the team was established to create opportunities for local women to showcase their talents and develop skills to reach higher levels. In fact, the Atlanta Glory is the first WABA team in history of Atlanta Metro Area.
As Dwight and I continued to talk, I learned that his interest in owning an all- women’s basketball team grew out of his love of playing sports in his youth. Dwight explained that he had raw talent but no one took an interest in him to help develop his talents. “I know what it feels like to have someone hold you back from a goal that you know you are capable of doing. When people see the talent, but they do nothing to help you cultivate it so it can grow.
As a result, of this experience, I chose to help women, because many of them have raw talent, but they have been overlooked. I wanted to give them a chance, not only to play but also learn the business side of the sports industry,” exclaimed Dwight.
Even though Dwight never played professional basketball nor was he a hardcore sports fan of women’s sports, he has always been a strong believer in the transformative power of athletics. In fact, he believes that sports has a unique way of impacting our communities, bringing diverse groups of people together, and a way to impact people lives in a positive way.
As a result, Dwight started working diligently to form his business. “I enrolled back into college for a sports management degree. In addition, I started talking to others who were in the league so that I could understand the business,” said Dwight. What I learned that really impressed me about Dwight was that he does it all from selecting the team, organizing the games, budgeting, and all the administrative duties.
As I listened, I was afraid that he might get burned out rather quickly, because he was assuming all the responsibilities. Dwight stated, “I live and breathe doing this so it’s not a chore. I want women to be seen just like the men are seen in the NBA.” “There’s a mentality out there, among many men that think the intensity and the level that women and men play are different. That could not be farther from the truth. I have women who can touch the rim and some play better than some males.
They just need to take a step back and pay attention and they will be able to see that women can perform almost at the same level. Women have the same intensity, passion and love for the game so they should be afforded the same opportunities.” He explained that owning a team “is not a chore because I want to change those negative views that some have about women playing sports. In fact, I believe that an athletic woman is extremely beautiful and they should be valued for what they do and how they do it.
Moreover,just like men, they are respected in sports so should women be respected in sports,” said Dwight. However, that’s not all Dwight feels about women and sports. He does believe that views about women in sports are changing now, but the wave hasn’t overtaken us all yet, but it’s coming.
He also, wanted to make sure to point out that he has a high regard for the NBA, “These men play hard and should every dollar for their talents. I must admit that I would like to see more community presence from them, because it motivates others to know that the impossible is possible. And that, in a nutshell, is the essence of what Dwight Martin is doing.
He wants to do everything in his power to see that his city and basketball team prospers. By simultaneously meeting a need for an expanded “high end, niche market” and seeking to preserve a slice of Atlanta ,Georgia’s heritage, “I would like people to remember me as a vessel who cared enough to give back and help people reach their dreams in life. I want my kids and wife to be proud of me,” exclaimed Dwight.