This one feels like it’s been coming for awhile now. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly signaled his displeasure with North Carolina’s controversial legislation, and now he’s ostensibly making good on his threat.
According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA All-Star Game is close to being moved out of Charlotte due to the state of North Carolina’s controversial HB2:
The law, in plain terms, seeks to force transgendered individuals to use bathrooms that align with their birth gender. Many within the NBA’s audience – and the league itself, we can reasonably infer – see this ruling as a bit on the bigoted side, and not in the nature of the sport’s recent progressive politics.
Commissioner Silver is not comfortable following the dismissal of racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the first openly gay player in major male American team sports, Jason Collins, with an All-Star game that cooperates with such a law.
It is of course possible that this tweet from Wojnarowksi, a known power broker at all levels of the league, is one big move in a long game of chicken between the league North Carolina lawmakers. The NBA chose Charlotte for a reason, and might rather reach a compromise or at least create more pro-LGBT leverage than move their annual bonanza this late in the game. It will be fascinating to see how Silver carries on in this episode – the most recent in his already surprisingly political tenure.
UPDATE: While the NBA has yet to make an official statement on this matter, further reporting from Wojnarowski has made their exit from Charlotte seem more imminent, with New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center set as a strong possibility for an alternative venue for the 2017 All-Star game.