Amid the harsh political climate generated by the now infamous North Carolina House Bill 2, the NBA has followed through with a threat to relocate the 2017 NBA All-Star Game festivities, moving the game from Charlotte to New Orleans. They made the announcement this morning via press release and social media.
The NBA has issued the following statement regarding New Orleans as the host of NBA All-Star 2017: pic.twitter.com/cLOYRcyt9q— NBA (@NBA) August 19, 2016
The Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans, hosted the All-Star game in 2008 and 2014. This leaves the Portland Trail Blazers as one of only four current NBA cities to have never hosted the game. Memphis, Sacramento and Oklahoma City have also never hosted a game. The Kings and Thunder each hosted a game in previous cities (Cincinnati and Seattle, respectively).
In a statement released last July, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated, "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."
North Carolina House Bill 2, or HB2 for short and nicknamed the "bathroom bill", is a bill passed last year that restricts transgendered persons to using the bathroom of their birth rather than their gender identity. Critics point out that it does nothing but invoke fear-mongering against the transgendered community, and places transgendered persons in danger by forcing them to use a bathroom that their physical appearance may not conform.
Other companies that have boycotted business in North Carolina due to the bill include PayPal, Generic Electric, Pepsi, Dow Chemical, Hewlett Packard and Lionsgate Films.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into law, issued a statement when the NBA removed the All-Star Game from Charlotte. "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."