Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will retire after the 2020-21 NBA season, announced Thursday.
Welt, 68, worked for 46 years in the NBA, and in 2011 he became the most prominent sports executive who admitted he was gay. He will remain with the Warriors as adviser and the crew said it would likely name a new president within a week.
“One of the things I’ve always been good at is knowing the right time to retire,” Westes, 68, told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. [retirement] No one saw the epidemic. If it was last year, I think I would have struggled with that just because we were all in a mess. We probably don̵7;t know how to find a way out of this. That would not be good for me and the organization.
“Now, just this week, we have the state’s advice to have fans in the stands before April is over and the road is hoping to go to normal next year. I’m ready. The organization is ready. We won’t miss a beat.” .. I have done the greatest thing I can do, time to pass it on to someone else. “
Welts began his NBA career as a soccer player with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1969, eventually becoming the team’s public relations director when winning the championship in 1979.
He also worked with Phoenix Suns from 2002 to 2011 as Chairman and CEO. The Seattle native saw the Warriors win three NBA titles during his 11 years with the franchise and also oversees the building of the state-of-the-art Chase Center in San Francisco.
“His intuition has proven to lead vision, creativity and relationship building, helping us reach unprecedented heights in the NBA in business,” said Joe Lacob, co-chairman and CEO. O, of the Warriors said in a statement. “We thank him for his incredible contributions to our franchise and, more importantly, the class and the manner in which he represents our organization on a daily basis.
Welt has also played a key role in NBA marketing over his 17 years as a league executive. In addition to developing ideas for the NBA All-Star Weekend in 1984, he also promoted the Dream Team and the WNBA.
“Simply put, Rick Welts has played a transformative role in shaping the next generation of the NBA during his 40 years of pioneer and team management,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. His humanity has defined his Hall of Fame career that sets the standard for excellence in sports.
“I was very fortunate to learn about the NBA business and the team directly from Rick in his early years at the league office, and have always admired his friendship and generosity as he transformed into a more competitive environment. Keep trying, I have no doubt. Rick will still leave his mark in the bigger games and sports businesses. ”
Welt told The Undefeated he is expected to live with his husband Todd Gage in Sacramento and San Francisco during retirement and plans to travel to Europe when the outbreak is over. He still plans to attend and watch many more NBA games.