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Ryan Resch of the Phoenix Suns just made NBA history but how?

In a major first for the league, the 29 year old front office exec has potentially paved the way for others to do the same in what has to be acknowledged as a brave move.

Ryan Resch of the Phoenix Suns just made NBA history but how?
Christian PetersenGetty Images

The Suns have been under a high level of scrutiny lately due to reports and allegations of a toxic work culture, yet it seems that one employee felt comfortable enough to do something we haven’t seen before.

Suns’ Ryan Resch makes NBA history as first openly gay Exec

According to an ESPN article, Phoenix Suns executive Ryan Resch recently announced that he is gay and thus becomes the first openly gay person in the NBA’s history to hold a position in basketball operations in a franchise’s front office. Resch who is 29 years old is the current 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.

A little background on Ryan Resch

A Baylor University graduate, it is understood that Resch originally reached out to men’s basketball coach Scott Drew in an effort to learn how he could help the team. At that point he was given the opportunity to take on the responsibilities of a student manager. Resch would go on to spend a year in Missouri pursuing political science, but would later return to Baylor. “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.”

How did Ryan Resch ‘come out?’

As the saying goes, ‘there’s no ‘I’ in team,’ and that’s exactly how it seems Resch approached his big announcement, by telling the team and general manager James Jones after a practice session. “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 among the most nondescript conversations we’ve ever had.”

Openly gay in the NBA? What does Ryan Resch think?

Interestingly, Resch who admitted to having dated women before was asked his thoughts on why there aren’t any openly gay active players in the league today. “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 sponsorship, 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.”


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