The New York Times has published a terrific piece on long-time National Basketball Association executive and Phoenix Suns President & Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts, who has just now publicly come out as gay. The article delves into the specifics of the 40 years he spent hiding his secret life from those in the league, culminating in his coming out to NBA commissioner David Stern the day before Kobe Bryant’s now infamous use of a gay slur.
Two years ago, a 14-year relationship ended badly, in part because his partner finally rejected the shadow life that Mr. Welts required. “My high profile in this community, and my need to have him be invisible,” Mr. Welts said, with clear regret. “That ultimately became something we couldn’t overcome.”
He began to think: here he was, in his mid-50s, and maybe he had sacrificed too much; and maybe he should open up about his sexuality, in a way that might help others. He kept a journal, sought advice from his sister and close friends, listed the pros and cons. He also had long talks with his widowed mother, Phyllis, in the months before she died of lung cancer, at 85, last fall. She encouraged him to do what he thought was best.
Read the rest of the article here.