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How Warriors President Rick Welts Influenced The NBA's All-Star Game Move

Edit: Shenzhen Jiechuang Display Product Co.,Limited    Date: Jul 23, 2016
source: news today

In a ballroom at the Wynn hotel and casino in Las Vegas two weeks ago, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, team owners and high-ranking league executives attended a Board of Governors meeting to discuss league issues.

They voted on changes to Hack-A-Shaq, introduced new minority owners and went over mundane but necessary topics. League officials also addressed the controversial anti-LGBT law in North Carolina that jeopardized the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte.

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.

His message resonated with the nearly 70 people in the ballroom, and this is the story of how Welts impacted but didn’t dictate the NBA’s decision to move the game to another state.

Three people who were in the room gaveUSATODAY Sports identical accounts of Welts’ heartfelt and unscripted address and provided other details of the meeting. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about what was said in the room.

Rick Buchanan, the league’s general counsel, started the discussion with a straightforward update on Charlotte, including details about conversations league officials had with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte city officials and local business leaders. Silver told owners there wouldn’t be a vote on moving the game, but it was important to hear opinions of those in the room.

After Buchanan’s update, some owners reiterated the league’s core values of diversity and inclusion while acknowledging the North   Carolina law is a sensitive issue. No owner spoke up and opposed relocation.

Silver, owners and league executives also looked at the issue from a business standpoint. Was it a good idea to hold the league’s midseason celebratory showcase event in a city where the weekend would be overshadowed by protests and media coverage of the House Bill 2, which doesn’t afford protections to those in the LGBT community?

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Hornets president and COO Fred Whitfield also spoke. They explained it was a difficult time and a divisive climate in Charlotte, and the issue wasn’t going away anytime soon.


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