July 21, 2016, 3:29 pm
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer the NBA has officially moved 2017’s All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte, North Carolina. The news is hardly surprising, as commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly hinted at the possibility of pulling the festivities from the state following its passage of the highly controversial House Bill 2 earlier this year. HB-2 has been roundly criticized for limiting specific protections afforded to the LGBTQ community, including dictating that transgender citizens use the bathroom of their birth gender.
NBA statement on moving All Star game from Charlotte pic.twitter.com/Kobx80l2pt
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) July 21, 2016
Opposition to the law did not stop with the league’s cancelation of All-Star weekend, either, as NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan threatened to move the team if the law remains in place. “With this new law in place, North Carolina currently does not have any anti-discrimination protection in place, something that is vital, not just for our fans but for everyone,” Jordan told reporters. “We are giving the state of North Carolina 30 days to repeal this law or they can expect the the Charlotte Hornets to play elsewhere. I want to make it clear that neither the Hornets nor I will not stand for this type of intolerance and hate.”
The NBA has a long history of social activism, and the tradition was on full display tonight. The league’s first openly gay player, Jason Collins, expressed his approval of the NBA’s willingness to engage with pressing social topics, writing:
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) July 21, 2016
Despite today’s decision, Silver still hopes the All-Star Game can return to Charlotte by 2019. In the mean time both New Orleans and Orlando have expressed an interest in hosting the event in 2017, with New Orleans gaining traction as an early frontrunner.