When the NBA announced in July that it was pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over concerns about North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 legislation, they left the door open to return in 2019. The league’s press release announcing the move (they’ve since named New Orleans the host city for next season) said that Charlotte would have the opportunity to host the All-Star festivities in two years if they’ve changed or repealed the controversial “bathroom law” by then.
“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 league said at the time.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan, in his statement on the league’s decision, added: “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 Charlotte city council feels the same. According to a report from Steve Harrison of the Charlotte Observer, the city has voted to incentivize the NBA to bring the game back in 2019.
Interim City Manager Ron Kimble said the Charlotte Hornets felt it would be beneficial to formally tell the NBA that the city’s offer still stands. The main part of the agreement is that the city and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority have agreed to spend up to $600,000 to support the game.
“In an effort to avoid having to negotiate various agreements, including the City Services Agreement, from scratch, the NBA, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the Hornets Basketball, LLC, and the city have developed a letter agreement that provides that the material terms and conditions of the agreements would apply in substantially similar force and effect with respect to the 2019 All-Star Game weekend should the NBA award the game to Charlotte,” the city said in its agenda.
There’s still a lot of work left to be done in North Carolina — HB2 has to be changed or overturned if the league wants to consider bringing All-Star Weekend back to Charlotte — but that’s going to happen at the state level if it happens. For now, it’s a good sign that there’s interest on both sides, from the NBA and from the city of Charlotte, in bringing the event back.