Adam Silver made good on his threat. The NBA announced on Thursday evening that it will move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, N.C. because state legislators have yet to make amendments to HB2, an anti-LGBTQ bill that was passed in March.
“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019…
“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.
“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons – including members of the LGBT community – feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena…
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier today that the league was “on the brink” of pulling All-Star festivities from Charlotte and moving them to New Orleans. The league’s official release on the matter indicates no new host city has been chosen, and also notes the NBA is hopeful of bringing All-Star Weekend back to Charlotte in 2019.
In a statement posted on his team’s website, Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, expressed solidarity with the NBA on this controversial 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.”
The NBA champions itself as the most progressive professional sports league in the world. And by both moving next season’s All-Star Game and affording North Carolina the opportunity to host the event again two years from now, the league is living up to that reputation while simultaneously recognizing that the discriminatory nature of HB2 says nothing about the character of Charlotte as a whole.
Bravo, Adam Silver.