Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts has announced he will retire after the 2020-21 NBA season.
“One of the things I’ve always been good at is knowing the right time to leave a position I’ve been in,” Welts said to Marc Spears of The Undefeated.
Welts – who’s already a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame – has spent 46 years working in the NBA, from a ball boy, to a marketing and public relations officer, to an executive.
Since joining the Warriors in 2011, Welts has been an integral member of three championship teams.
“His [Welts’s] intuition proved to be spot-on as his leadership, vision, creativity and relationship-building enabled us to reach heights never seen before in the NBA on the business side,” Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said in a statement, via ESPN.
Welts’s strategy for basketball marketing has left an indelible imprint on the NBA.
“Simply put, Rick Welts played a transformational role in creating the modern NBA during his more than 40 years as a pioneering league and team executive,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.
“His extraordinary vision, leadership and humanity have defined his Hall of Fame career, which has set the standard of excellence in the sports industry.”
Welts is also famous for being one of the first openly gay sports executives.
His decision to share his sexuality undoubtedly helped destigmatize homosexuality in American sports.
Welts plans to travel to Europe to celebrate his retirement after the COVID-19 pandemic.