Sheila Johnson co-founder of BET and the ex-wife of Robert L. Johnson, has become the first black female owner of a professional sports team. The WNBA's Washington Mystics were sold Tuesday to a group headed by Johnson.
Johnson joined Lincoln Holdings LLC which owns the NHL's Washington Capitals and is a 45-percent partner in the Wizards and MCI Center to purchase the Mystics from Washington Sports & Entertainment. Lincoln Holdings LLC was founded by AOL executive Ted Leonsis. With her partnership in Lincoln Holdings LLC, Johnson will be a part owner in the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards.
At a ceremony Tuesday at MCI Center, which included NBA Commissioner David Stern, Leonsis said that Johnson has become a partner in Lincoln Holdings. She will hold the titles of president and managing partner of the Mystics and will represent the team at the board of governors meetings.
"I hope that this is a signal that it's about time that a woman, and an African-American woman, is part of this whole scene of sports," Johnson said.
Johnson is the first African-American woman to be an owner/partner in three professional sports franchises. Her former husband, Robert L. Johnson, who co-founded BET with Johnson, is the owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.