North Carolina may lose 2017 NBA All-Star Game over LGBT law


North Carolina may lose 2017 NBA All-Star Game over LGBT law

BOSTON -- The NBA could potentially pull out of next year’s All-Star game in Charlotte following North Carolina legislation which doesn’t provide certain provisions to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender residents.

"The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events,” read a statement released by the NBA on Thursday. “We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”

The new law passed in North Carolina on Wednesday requires public school and university students use bathrooms according to their birth certificate’s gender. The law shot down a non-discrimination ordinance passed by Charlotte’s City Council in February that had extended anti-discrimination protection to LGBT residents. In addition, the new bill doesn’t allow state municipalities to introduce new LGBT measures such as multi-stall transgender bathrooms.

The NBA isn’t by itself when it comes to potentially pulling one of its showcase events out of Charlotte.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to have games played in Greensboro, N.C. in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018. And like the NBA, they too are considering a potential change of venue.

“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites,” read a statement from the NCAA. “Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values.  It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

Issues pertaining to the LGBT community have been particularly important to the NBA, even more so after former Boston Celtic Jason Collins became the first openly gay player to play in the NBA when he was with the Brooklyn Nets.

“I’m honored, in so many ways,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Bleacher Report in April, 2014 following Collins signing with the Nets. “That the NBA presented to him a comfortable environment in which he both felt comfortable coming out last April, and one in which an NBA team felt comfortable signing him based on his ability, and in no way to make a political statement.”

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

AP Photo

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.


WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

NBC Sports Boston illustration

WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Pelicans in New Orleans. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 5:30  p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Can C's slow down Anthony Davis?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]