Rick Welts Rumors

Brandon Schneider, who said he attended his first Warriors game at age seven, has been working for the organization for 19 years, initially serving as a season-ticket account executive while working his way up the organization’s ladder — and most recently serving as chief revenue officer over the past three seasons. He credited Lacob and Guber, who bought the team in 2010, for creating the culture change that led to the Warriors’ run of success over the better part of the past decade. “I’ll steal one line from Rick,” Schneider said. “I’ve heard him say this so many times, but it’s just well-said. There’s three things that you need to be a successful sports organization: Ownership, ownership and ownership. And he usually follows that by saying, “And we hit the Powerball.” But it’s really true — if you look back, the culture that Joe and Peter brought, hiring the best people, letting them do their job, it sounds so easy, but it just isn’t. … The other thing I would say that’s changed, I think, from where things were in my early days, and certainly different from how other organizations run, is business and basketball work together.”
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.”
His angriest moment? The league’s suspension of Suns stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw in a 2007 playoff series against the Spurs—a decision that perhaps cost the Suns a chance at a title. “The only time I didn’t speak to Stern for three months in my life, was the suspension,” Welts says. “He was wrong, by the way. He still is wrong.” His lowest low? Magic Johnson announcing he was HIV-positive in 1992. “Especially for a closeted gay man in New York City at the time,” Welts says. “That our most magnetic and popular face of the league could be HIV-positive was the most devastating thing.”