Suns’ Ryan Resch becomes first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history

Jun 25, 2022, 10:15 AM | Updated: 12:46 pm

A basketball on the court during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns at Ca...

A basketball on the court during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns at Capital One Arena on February 05, 2022 in Washington, DC.(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns vice president of basketball strategy and evaluation Ryan Resch announced he is gay, ESPN reported Saturday.

Resch, who has been with the Suns since 2016 as an intern, becomes the first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history.

In 2011, former Suns CEO Rick Welts came out as gay, being the first openly gay executive.

“We are proud of Ryan for living his truth,” said Suns general manager James Jones in a statement. “While we look forward to the day when unconditional acceptance is commonplace and this is not a big story, it’s important for us to celebrate Ryan’s courage and recognize the significance of this moment.”

Resch becomes the first executive who actively works in a team’s front office to come out as gay. He came out to Jones and other staffers in January, according to ESPN.

The article goes into depth on how Resch came out to Jones and staff, including Suns owner Robert Sarver.

“My first thought was ‘If I’m gonna do this, I’m going to do it the right way,’ and I wasn’t going to hide behind it any longer,” Resch told ESPN. “I told James (Jones) in my office randomly one day after practice … it was amongst the most nondescript conversations we’ve ever had.

“By that, I mean there was beauty in how uneventful it was, because he was just so accepting and so generous and kind about it from the jump.”

After Resch came out to Jones and the rest of the organization, he still hadn’t had the chance to come out to Sarver months after.

Resch’s then-boyfriend had been attending games, so he wanted the chance to tell Sarver.

“When I told Robert (Sarver) a couple of weeks ago, he was amazing,” Resch said to ESPN. “He told me, ‘I’m so happy you feel comfortable enough to live as who you are, and bring someone special to a game.”

Resch said the two had spoke about Welts among other things when he came out to Sarver.

“The best part of the conversation was our discussion about how it’s the quality of work that will determine my trajectory professionally in the franchise,” Resch said. “It’s about merit.”

Going forward, Resch looks to continue to help build the Suns’ culture and he plans to do so with empathy and professionalism.

“I’m extremely fortunate that my actualized risk is completely different from the perception of risk that I created in my head,” Resch told ESPN.

“Ultimately my goal is to normalize for people in and out of the league the existence of gay men and women on the basketball side.”


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