Rick Welts was already a basketball success story -- working his way from the lowest rung on the ladder to the top of the Phoenix Suns organization. But on Sunday, Welts, who began his career in basketball as a ball boy with the Seattle Sonics, took a step forward and came out to the world as he shared his story with the New York Times. Welts called upon friends and colleagues for support before taking his story public, both for personal and professional reasons. By coming out now, Welts hopes to encourage and mentor younger athletes while setting a positive example and opening the lines of communication.
And it's time. It's time for professional sports to take a step forward and shed the homophobic label. Welts called upon Bill Russell, David Stern and Steve Nash to stand with him, and all pledged their full support. Steve Nash said it best when describing what Welts' story means in the grand scheme of things.
"Anyone who’s not ready for this needs to catch up," Mr. Nash said later. "He’s doing anyone who’s not ready for this a favor."
Over at SB Nation, I wrote about Welts' courageous step and what it means for not only the NBA, but professional sports as a whole. We've reached, as SB Nation's Andy Hutchin put it, a critical mass in sports. Due to a combination of recent events, homosexuality and homophobia in sports is in the spotlight and the conversations we're having now present us all with the opportunity to make a change.