Phoenix Suns executive Ryan Resch announced he is gay in an article published by ESPN.com, becoming the first openly gay person in NBA history to work basketball operations in a front office.
The 29-year-old Resch is the team’s vice president of strategy and evaluation.
“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,” Resch said to ESPN.com.
Resch attended Baylor University and reached out to men’s basketball coach Scott Drew to inquire about helping out. He started out as a student manager.
He returned to Baylor after spending a year at Missouri in pursuing political science.
“I had a difficult time letting that team environment go,” Resch says. “When I returned to the team environment at the Big 12 tournament that year, it felt familial, and it felt fulfilling in a way that had been lacking being away from it.”
He said he first came out to the Suns and told general manager James Jones after a practice.
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“We were playing Miami at home and I wanted to bring somebody I was seeing at the time to the game and have him sit with me in our executive suite,” Resch said. “And I obviously can’t do that unless you tell the other executives whom you’re bringing. In true James fashion — he has been referred to as the best teammate of all time by several of his former teammates — it was amongst the most nondescript conversations we’ve ever had.”
Resch, who said he dated women and developed relationships during the pandemic, was asked why he thought why there isn’t an openly gay active player in the NBA.
“I’m extremely fortunate that my actualized risk is completely different from the perception of risk that I created in my head,” he said. “But for a player who’s concerned about risking sponsorships, or extremely high-dollar contracts, or dealing with media questions or podium questions when they’re in the middle of a playoff run, that’s difficult. We don’t necessarily provide people in this industry with the privacy, time or space to become comfortable with who they are.”