Without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA on Thursday decided to pull the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.
“Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community – current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans,” the league said in a released statement.
The NBA is focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, league sources told The Vertical.
For now, there are still other cities trying to lure the All-Star Game, sources said.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed – and time to do so ran out because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event, league sources said.
The issue is centered on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The law also omits LGBT people from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination protections, forbids local governments from widening LGBT protections and excludes all forms of workplace discrimination lawsuits from North Carolina state courts.
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the league said. “… We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had been counting on All-Star Weekend as a signature event for his franchise, and the economic impact of losing the All-Star Game for the franchise and region promises to be dramatic.
The NBA had discussed moving the All-Star Game to the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, sources said, but scheduling conflicts at the facility became part of the reason the idea never advanced past high-level league conversations during the Las Vegas summer league this month, sources said.
New Orleans hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014.