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.”
He wasn’t the MVP, but that didn’t stop bidders from pushing a jersey worn by LeBron James to the top of the list in an auction of jerseys worn in this year’s NBA All-Star Game. The #23 shirt donned by the captain of victorious Team LeBron sold for $250,140 in a three-week sale conducted by NBA Auctions. In all, two dozen jerseys worn during the game during the first half of the game in Atlanta brought in more than $600,000.
Tom Orsborn: Michael Malone said he cast a vote for DeRozan as an All-Star reserve: “He’s one of the tougher covers in the NBA and he does it without shooting the 3-point shot….I think people around the league probably view him the same way. He is a hell of a basketball player.”
Kyle Neubeck: Harris asked about the All Star snub for first time after the break. Mentions Philly fans giving him approval this year is probably best sign he should have been one this year. “These are the same fans that would have escorted me out of my house last year.”