Yesterday the NBA announced it will move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to another state because of North Carolina’s controversial anti-LGBT law - House Bill 2. Charlotte could still host the All-Star Game in 2019 All-Star Game if changes to the law are made; the NBA statement says the game could returm “provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”
What does former Phoenix Suns President and current Golden State Warriors Rick Welts have to do with the NBA's decision?
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today wrote bout the Las Vegas meeting that may have changed everything:
"In a poignant address, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts, 63, who is openly gay, explained his meaningful and lifelong affiliation with the NBA and told league owners he didn’t feel comfortable attending the All-Star Game in Charlotte if the law remained as is."
He...said if the All-Star Game remained in Charlotte, he wouldn’t feel comfortable attending, and he said he has spoken to employees in the LBGT community from half of the league’s teams who didn’t feel comfortable attending either.
His words weren’t emotional, and they weren’t delivered as a threat. But Welts, who was instrumental in shaping All-Star weekend into the big-time event it is today, didn’t plan on attending if the North Carolina law wasn’t repealed or changed.
Welts, who doesn’t want to be viewed as the hero or key figure in this, was adamant he wasn’t telling the league what it should do. It was just his story, his point of view.
Following the meeting, a few owners talked with Silver, and a prevailing message emerged: If Rick Welts doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the All-Star Game, the decision to relocate just got easier.