Rick Welts, who in 2011 became the first prominent U.S. sports executive to publicly identify as a gay man, has tied the knot.
The president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors wed his partner, Todd Gage, in a Jan. 10 ceremony at San Francisco’s City Hall. Mayor London Breed was the couple’s officiant.
Welts confirmed the nuptials with a heartfelt photo on Twitter. He and Gage, who is a flight attendant, have been together for nine years.
Welts, a Seattle native, came out in a May 2011 interview with The New York Times in hopes of setting an example for other LGBTQ people who hope to pursue a career in professional sports.
“This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits,” said Welts, who was serving as president of the Phoenix Suns at the time. “Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation.”
While the reaction to his coming out was “overwhelmingly positive,” he told the University of Washington Magazine in 2011, “The question I had to wrestle with was, ‘Is there some larger good that can come of it?’ rather than just making a personal decision about myself, and that’s what I’m really happy about.”
Since then, Welts has led the Warriors to three championship wins and five NBA finals appearances.
The number of openly LGBTQ sports officials includes Erik Braverman, who came out as gay in 2015 and serves as the senior vice president of marketing, communications and broadcasting for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With more than 40 years of NBA experience to his credit, Welts was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.