The NBA moved this season's All-Star game away from Charlotte due to North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, but commissioner Adam Silver said bringing back the mid-season festivities to Charlotte is “a high priority” in 2019 — as long as legislators revise the bill.
“Our owners and teams are based all over the country in red states and blue states and purple states,” Silver said Tuesday, via the Charlotte Observer. “It was a strongly-held view that HB2 was inconsistent with the values of this league.”
HB2 nullified Charlotte’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance that extended legal protection for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals. It also requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate in government buildings.
“We’re committed to North Carolina. But for All-Star in particular, we want all members of our broader NBA family to feel comfortable here," Silver said. “My sense is people know exactly in what ways the bill needs to be addressed.”
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who blamed "the sports and entertainment elite" as well as "liberal media" for the NBA removing the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, is in a re-election race with Democrat Roy Cooper, who is calling for a full repeal of HB2.
“My hope is that things will be resolved pretty quickly after the election,” Hornets team president Fred Whitfield said.
This season's All-Star game will be held in New Orleans with the 2018 three-night February event hosted by Los Angeles.