The NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.
The league says it hopes to announce a new location for next February's events shortly. It hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte.
The league's decision comes shortly after stage legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.
Commissioner Adam Silver had said the league needed to make a decision this summer about its plans.
The NBA issued the following statement on Thursday:
The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 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. 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 – 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.
The Charlotte Hornets and chairman Michael Jordan released the following statement shortly thereafter:
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. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
The Sacramento Kings also released a statement:
The Sacramento Kings today released the following statement applauding the NBA for its decision to move the All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, over concerns about the state’s refusal to repeal HB2. The law has ignited a national conversation about discrimination and appropriate legal protections for members of the LGBT community.
“The NBA has long stood for inclusion and respect, and the Sacramento Kings are proud to be a part of that legacy,” said Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “On and off the court we have a diverse team representing different countries, races, religions, ages and sexual orientations. In basketball and in Silicon Valley, we share a similar philosophy – it does not matter who you are, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, or the color of your skin – everyone is welcome in our family. All that matters is that you’ve got game.
“We applaud and support the NBA's decision to ensure that all members of the NBA family, our fans and our partners are able to attend and enjoy the All-Star game in a state where they feel welcome and safe. We enthusiastically support Commissioner Silver and we are proud to play in a league that is a leader in promoting the importance of diversity and equality."
Warriors President and COO Rick Welts commented on the NBA's action Thursday:
"I applaud the NBA for today's announcement. This has been a thoughtful and deliberate process that reflects a tremendous effort by the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA to respect all points of view in reaching a decision consistent with the core values of our league."
The Warriors team released a statement on the league's decision:
"As an organization, we fully support the NBA's decision to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game and applaud the league's unwavering overall approach that fosters an inclusive environment for everyone, including members of the LGBT community. Our league has always been at the forefront of such matters and striving for equality across the board is of paramount concern and focus, likewise, for our entire organization.”
The 2017 NBA All-Star Game is scheduled for Feb. 19.
The Associated Press, NBA media services, Golden State Warriors media services, Sacramento Kings media services, and Charlotte Hornets media services contributed to this report