CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – The NBA has pulled the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, the NBA said it had decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte “with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.”
Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2, the NBA said the league and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue to promote change.
For his part, Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan said he understands 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,” Jordan said. “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.”
Jordan went on to thank the city of Charlotte and the business community for their support throughout the process, including getting the initial bid.
The NBA statement went on to say, “We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league,” the NBA statement reads. “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 – 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.
“We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.
“The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.”
McCrory released a statement following the news the game had been pulled due to the law.
“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,” McCrory said. “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.”
The basketball website “The Vertical” reported New Orleans is the front runner to host the game once it is moved from Charlotte. New Orleans last hosted All-Star games in 2014 and 2008.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been critical of the law since it was signed into action by Gov. Pat McCrory.
On July 12 in Las Vegas, Silver said the NBA was not ready to make a decision yet.
“But we recognize the calendar is not our friend here,” Silver said.
Silver was in Las Vegas for the NBA owners annual meeting. He said the NBA Board of Governors did receive updates on the situation with House Bill 2 in North Carolina, but said they did not vote on the issue.
“Is this the place we should be in February 2017 as the epicenter of global basketball? Where we can go to celebrate our game and our values,” Silver asked.
HB2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities. It also does not allow municipalities to set their own minimum wage rates.
The bill was passed in a one-day special session and was signed by McCrory that night.
Progress NC Action released a statement Thursday regarding the NBA’s decision.
Today’s news is further evidence that HB2 is an economic disaster for North Carolina,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Over $100 million in economic activity is leaving our state because of Gov. McCrory’s discriminatory law, on top of the hundreds of jobs and millions in tourism dollars that our state has already lost over HB2. But instead of admitting his mistake, the governor is busy raiding our disaster relief fund to defend this man-made disaster of a law in court. It’s time for Gov. McCrory to accept reality and call for a full repeal of HB2 before any more damage is done to our economy.”
Meanwhile, Civitas Institute released a statement by President Francis De Luca.
If these reports are indeed true, then the NBA has chosen social activism as opposed to what is in the best interests of their business. This is a perfect example of attempted corporate bullying, which will not hurt North Carolina. Thanks to conservative leadership in our state, North Carolina has attracted more business and jobs than ever before, and our economy continues to strengthen whether the NBA agrees with our laws or not. The thought that one basketball game not being played here will have a negative impact on North Carolina’s over half-trillion dollar economy is laughable.”
McCrory’s full statement on the NBA’s annoucement:
“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.”
WBTV contributed to this article.