By Blake Neff
The NBA announced Thursday afternoon it is taking the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state’s HB2 law requiring people to use a public bathroom that aligns with their birth gender.
The HB2 law, passed by North Carolina’s legislature in March, overrode a local Charlotte civil rights ordinance and requires people using public restrooms and locker rooms to use facilities aligned with their birth sex. Critics bashed the law as discriminatory, arguing people should be allowed into whatever restroom they want. There has been a substantial movement to boycott North Carolina, which the NBA has now joined.
“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,” the NBA said in a statement. “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.”
The NBA didn’t announced what city would replace Charlotte in hosting the game. The move won’t affect the operation of the Charlotte Bobcats, the city’s NBA team.
NBA star Steph Curry, a Charlotte native, told ESPN the decision was regrettable but that he would support it.
“It’s disappointing that my home team won’t be able to host the All-Star Game as planned,” he said. “I understand [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver’s position.”
The NBA’s decision is the most recent and high-profile protest move by corporate and government entities against North Carolina since it passed its bathroom law in March. Several states have banned non-essential business travel to North Carolina, which has forced the cancellation of several college athletic contests. Several musical acts also canceled concerts, and some companies canceled expansion plans in the state.
The law is also facing a federal court challenge, which has become a part of the Obama administration’s broader effort to force all public schools in the country to let students use whatever bathroom they want without restriction.