For Pride month, we’ve dedicated each day of June to an individual athlete or coach whose shining moment changed LGBTQ sports.
Today: Openly gay Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts wins third NBA title on June 8, 2018.
It was the night that cemented the NBA’s next dynasty, and added the proverbial cherry on top of Rick Welts’ Hall of Fame resume. The trailblazing executive, who came out in 2011, watched the Warriors win their third NBA championship in four years, sweeping the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers. The series was never in doubt, especially after Game 1, when Cavaliers guard JR Smith mistakenly dribbled out most of the clock in the fourth quarter, even though the game was tied. The mistake sent LeBron James into hysterics, and may have ultimately wound up chasing him from Cleveland (again).
The Warriors wound up winning the contest, and cruised to a series victory. In Game 4, Stephen Curry dropped 37 points, and NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant added 20. The Warriors clobbered the Cavaliers on their home court 108-85.
The previous week, Welts had been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, becoming the first openly gay man to receive the honor. A longtime NBA executive who played a key role in marketing the 1992 Dream Team, Welts joined the Warriors front office in 2011 — shortly after coming out.
It was quite a decade for Welts, and this one is off to a pretty good start for him as well. He married his partner of nine years on a civil ceremony in San Francisco in January. Mayor London Breed officiated the festivities.
Follow Rick Welts on Twitter here.