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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 22, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 30
NBA pulls All-Star Game from North Carolina
Section One
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NBA pulls All-Star Game from North Carolina

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The NBA has decided to move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the New Orleans Smoothie King Center.

'The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019,' the league said in a July 21 statement.

'Since March, when North Carolina enacted [the anti-LGBT law] 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.'

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, reporter for The Vertical, the NBA had discussed moving the All-Star Game to the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but they ran into scheduling conflicts at the facility.

New Orleans hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state's LGBT community was changed. The time to do so ran out, Wojnarowski reported, because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event. Charlotte Hornet owner Michael Jordan and the city government of Charlotte also opposed the HB2, a fact noted by the NBA in its July 21 statement.

'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,' the league said.

'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 withdraw of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte came as the NBA took a principled stand against the discriminatory HB2 and the failure to repeal HB2 by Senate Leader Berger, Speaker Moore and Governor McCrory,' Equality North Carolina said in a statement.

'When the City of Charlotte passed vital LGBT protections from discrimination last year, they made themselves a more competitive city for events like the All-Star Game. McCrory, Berger, and Moore have continued to put North Carolina in economic harm's way with the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation, despite the best efforts of Charlotte city leaders to keep the game. We applaud the NBA for its commitment to all fans, and hope that North Carolina's leadership will heed this wakeup call and repeal HB2 before we suffer even more as a state.'

'Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won't stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans,' HRC said.

'The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events. Nevertheless, Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment. Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm. We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law.'

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a measure revising HB2 on July 17, but it left most of the anti-LGBT provisions intact.

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