Like the NBA’s choice to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in response to HB2, it should come as no surprise that its teams and players support that decision.
The league has been lauded for its increasingly inclusive politics ever since the Donald Sterling fiasco of spring 2014. Adam Silver’s need to address North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ legislation with such force and the ensuing backing from the basketball world at large is just the latest indication that the NBA is the most progressive professional sports league in the world.
Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, the only team directly affected by All-Star Weekend leaving North Carolina’s largest city, immediately released a statement supporting the league’s decision.
“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.”
Other teams followed suit of the Hornets shortly thereafter.
Retired big man Jason Collins, a 13-year veteran who came out in the spring of 2013 before playing a final season with the Brooklyn Nets, said he was proud of the league’s decisiveness.
Superstars like Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant applauded the NBA for moving the All-Star Game while expressing disappointment for the Hornets and the city of Charlotte, which sparked HB2 in the first place by passing a law that allowed transgender people to use public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
Here’s a full transcription of Curry’s thoughts on the matter, courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
“Just, I know how much that would have meant to the city to be able host the greatest NBA guys and celebrate the game of basketball. I know the league is in a position where they have to make a decision. And Adam Silver’s made one, and we support that. But at the end of the day, I love my city. I love Charlotte. I love everything about it. I love the people there. I really wanted to see them celebrate the game. It’s unfortunate they won’t be able to do that.”
Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, meanwhile, simply conveyed sympathy for Charlotte instead of taking a more official stance on the issue.
That we live in a country where the rights of human beings can still be infringed upon by government agencies will never cease to shock. With actions like this taken by the NBA and the sweeping support it generated among teams and players, though, it’s clearly just a matter of time until discrimination of any form whatsoever is repudiated by a unified and overwhelming majority.