With North Carolina not budging from its House Bill 2 Law, the NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, and will work with host Charlotte Hornets on a 2019 date — provided the state change the law.
Ever since it was signed into law this spring, HB2 has been widely criticized as one of the most blatantly anti-LBGT laws in the nation. Among its provisions, HB2 bans North Carolina municipalities from passing their own protection laws for the LBGT community and forces transgender people to use public restrooms that match the gender listed on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.
It was no secret that the NBA was looking into moving the game from Charlotte. Other businesses that are either in or planned to set up operations in the region have spoken out against HB2, with Paypal scrapping a planned 400-job expansion within the city. By the end of May, Charlotte’s Chamber of Commerce estimated that the law had cost the city $285.5 million.
Governor Pat McCrory modified the law recently, mainly by partially restoring the right for people to sue for wrongful termination based on discrimination, but the NBA was concerned with the law’s reach. More from the Charlotte Observer:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the conclusion of an owners meeting last week in Las Vegas that he was “disappointed” that state legislators didn’t take additional steps toward modifying the legislation before adjourning.
“This is a very difficult issue for us, and we’re trying to be extremely cautious and deliberate in how we go about making the decision,” Silver said in Las Vegas.
Silver also said the “calendar” is not the league’s friend in this matter and it would have to be resolved this summer.
Which is what has happened. Here is the statement from Silver issued today:
“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.
“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.
“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. 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.
“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.
“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.
“The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.”