The NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because there hasn’t been any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change a newly enacted bill targeted at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The issue centers on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which 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.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless the discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s LGBT community was changed. Legislators were given ample time, but it has now run out because of the major logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event. A formal announcement of the NBA’s withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had been counting on All-Star Weekend for his franchise. The economic impact of losing the All-Star Game for the franchise and the region will surely be significant.
The league is reportedly focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the replacement host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on February 19. New Orleans hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014. The NBA has reached out to other possible host cities and several others are vying for the events.