The president of the Phoenix Suns NBA franchise has come out. Rick Welts is the first such professional sports leader to publicly declare his gayness.
Welts talked separately to NBA commissioner David Stern, Suns guard Steve Nash, Hall of Famer Bill Russell and founding WNBA president Val Ackerman to discuss the message he wished to convey in making his sexual orientation public. The 58-year-old Welts, who began his career as a ball boy for the Seattle SuperSonics, spent several years with Stern in the league office. He was the architect of the All-Star Weekend and helped raise the NBA’s profile before leaving for the Suns’ front office. Stern was not taken aback or even surprised by the conversation, though he did assume beforehand that Welts had wanted to meet to discuss career advice, according to The Times. “What I didn’t say at the time was: I think there’s a good chance the world will find this unremarkable,” Stern told The Times. “I don’t know if I was confusing my thoughts with my hopes.”