All-Star Rumors

All-Star weekend? That was Welts’s idea. The original Dream Team? Welts marketed it. The WNBA? Welts helped launch it. The game’s global influence? Welts had a hand there, too, before lending his leadership to the Suns (during the seven-seconds-or-less era) and for the last 10 years, the light-years-ahead Warriors. “He’ll go down as—he already is—one of the most influential sports executives of the last five decades,” Silver told Sports Illustrated. “He transformed this league.”
All-Star weekend was, Welts said, “the gift that kept on giving, in our industry and in my career,” and the first highlight that he always lists. But the most important thing he’s ever done, Welts says, was his decision to come out in 2011, in a New York Times story. At the time, Welts was the highest-ranking openly gay executive in sports. He still is today, which says something about the industry. But that story changed Welts’s life and created a bridge to others who were struggling with the decision. Welts says he’s heard from hundreds of people seeking his counsel over the last 10 years. “There isn’t a week that goes by that someone doesn’t reach out to me from a team or a sports organization or college or whatever, and just want to connect with somebody who will understand their story and could be someone who would have an understanding ear to talk to,” Welts said. “And I cherish that.”