The National Basketball Association (NBA) Friday announced it will not be holding its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state’s sweeping anti-LGBT law, HB 2.
“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,” the league’s statement read. “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.”
The Hornets responded, “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.”
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said in response to the NBA’s announcement to pull the North Carolina plug:
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. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. 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.
At Turner, and our parent company Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our company. Laws to the contrary go against our fundamental belief of equality and inclusion for all individuals. We fully support the NBA’s decision to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game and all of the weekend’s events originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The annual All-Star Game and accompanying weekend competitions are viewed by millions of fans every year on TNT and we look forward to working with the league to once again produce a memorable and entertaining event.
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, and the law firm of Jenner & Block are challenging HB 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina.
Lambda Legal Southern Regional Director Simone Bell responded on behalf of the organization.
“Lambda Legal commends the NBA’s regrettable, but necessary, public stance against North Carolina’s discriminatory law, HB 2. Because the North Carolina legislature left them no choice, the NBA was forced to move the game. Discrimination is expensive and the legislature’s refusal to repeal the law just cost the state tens of millions of dollars,” Bell said. “We thank the NBA for taking a strong stand in opposition to HB 2 because the law’s targeted and unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, particularly against transgender young people and adults, is inconsistent with their values and goals.”
“The NBA knows that the key to any organization’s success – like that of a winning basketball team – is innovation and drive, and that only happens when you are inclusive,” Bell added. “The league is a great example of how taking a stand for its teams and its LGBT fans against this extreme and discriminatory measure can create a better business climate by insisting on fairness for all families across this country.”
Sports apparel company Nike welcomed the announcement with this official statement: “Nike supports the NBA’s decision to stand up for equal rights for the LGBT community by moving the location of the All Star Game. We stand against discrimination of any kind and believe this decision sends a strong message of inclusion and respect for diversity.”
Jason Collins made history by becoming the first openly gay player in the NBA. He said, “As a member of the NBA family and as a gay man, I’m extremely proud to see the NBA take initiative and move the All-Star Game from North Carolina. Their decision is an extremely poignant one and shows that discrimination of any kind is not welcome in sports and is not acceptable in any part of our society. The NBA has set the best kind of example and precedent moving forward for all to follow.”
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) July 21, 2016
Other celebrities and sports figures are weighing in on Twitter with their support as well.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 22, 2016
.@NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made a good decision to move the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 22, 2016
Replacement cities under the microscope now include Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and Orlando. The NBA will announce the new official 2017 All-Star Game host city in the coming weeks.