With commissioner Adam Silver leading the charge, the NBA has been very transparent about the league’s feelings regarding the House Bill 2 in North Carolina: Change the law, or the NBA will pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
In response, North Carolina adjusted the law ever-so slightly, but the NBA still felt like the necessary changes weren’t made so Silver announced that the league was looking at alternative locations. Now it’s official: the NBA will be pulling the game out of Charlotte. Here’s the league’s statement:
“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.”
The Charlotte Hornets issued a statement as well:
“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so. With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.”
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Charlotte would lose All-Star weekend and called New Orleans the front-runner to host it in 2017, adding that there are still other cities in the running. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that those other cities are New York/Brooklyn and Chicago.
This is quite the message the league is sending to North Carolina and to other states or municipalities with discriminatory laws. The All-Star Game in Charlotte would’ve likely generated millions of dollars for the area. This a big hit to both the bottom line and North Carolina’s and Charlotte’s reputation. Perhaps because of this, North Carolina’s state government will actually make significant changes to HB2. But the damage has already been done, at least according to the NBA, and the 2017 All-Star game is headed elsewhere.
Courtesy: CBS Sports.com