Nearly a year after pulling the 2017 game from the city, the NBA has confirmed that Charlotte and the Charlotte Hornets will host the 2019 All-Star Game. This comes after North Carolina lawmakers repealed the state’s controversial House Bill 2 earlier this year.
The Spectrum Center was initially slated to host the 2017 All-Star Game, but that came into doubt after North Carolina put the controversial HB2 into law. HB2 quickly became the subject of backlash for introducing measures that many believed discriminated members of the LBGT community, and it ultimately led to the NBA pulling last year’s contest out of Charlotte.
When the decision was announced last year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the league would work to bring the 2019 game to Charlotte, provided that issues with HB2 were resolved. Earlier this year, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that repealed HB2, though many groups have said that the new measure has its own flaws, as it, among other provisions, places a moratorium on local non-discrimination policies through 2020.
However, Silver said that the NBA and the Hornets are confident that local businesses will follow the equality principals they have put into place. More from The Charlotte Observer:
In a statement Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged the concerns of skeptics, but said the new bill “eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law.”
“Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies,” Silver said.
That means that every business associated with the 2019 All-Star Game, such as the uptown hotels providing the nearly 6,000 rooms for the game, has had to sign onto a four-pillar set of non-discrimination principles outlined by the league.
The principles prohibit businesses from discriminating against customers and employees based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. They also mandate that businesses provide a restroom that will be open for use by all individuals consistent with their gender identities.
Shortly after the NBA pulled the 2017 game from Charlotte, the league announced that it was being relocated to New Orleans, where it was staged at the New Orleans Pelicans’ Smoothie King Center. This will be Charlotte’s second turn at hosting the All-Star Game, and the first since the 1991 contest was staged at the Charlotte Coliseum.