The National Basketball Association
Lost game: Time Warner Cable Arena (pictured) was to host the All Stars.
is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C., because of the climate created by the state's passage in March of HB2, which curtails legal protections for the LGBT community. The organization hopes to return to Charlotte in 2019.
"Since March, when North Carolina enacted 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," read a statement from the NBA. "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.
"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. ... 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."
Michael Jordan, former star and current owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, had this to say about the decision: "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. "
Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said his city welcomes everyone to visit. "We hope to be able to work with the NBA in the future to show them the inclusive and welcoming spirit our community prides itself on, as well as the strong event-management expertise our team and our city can provide," he added in a statement.
Gov. Pat McCrory blamed the "liberal media" for the NBA's decision: "The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process."
ESPN reported that Chicago, New Orleans and New York are frontrunners to host the game. See mcmag.com/NCHB2 for M&C's previous coverage of this issue.