In a statement released Thursday, the league announced the game will be relocated from Charlotte. The decision stems from North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which forces transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.
“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,” the league wrote in an email statement today. “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.”
Aside from the NBA, some of the brands spotted on the feet of the league’s brightest stars have made displeasure of HB2 known.
“Nike strongly supports equality and inclusion for all,” the brand wrote in an email statement in April sent to Footwear News. “We oppose laws that facilitate discrimination as they hurt our employees, our customers, our business and society as a whole. We stand with other businesses and organizations against discriminatory laws across the country.”
After today’s decision by the league, women’s advocacy group UltraViolet thanked NBA commissioner Adam Silver for taking action and removing the event from the city.
“We applaud Commissioner Silver for finally listening to the thousands of NBA fans who have spoken out against HB2 and for taking a strong stand against discrimination by moving the 2017 NBA All-Star Game to a state where people in the LGBTQ community are not subject to overt harassment and hate,” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of the national women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet, in a statement. “The NBA’s decision sends a clear signal to lawmakers around the country that enshrining hate and discrimination into law will never be tolerated or rewarded by professional athletics or the business community.”
The league said it hopes to reschedule the event in Charlotte in 2019 — if there is a satisfactory resolution. The NBA also said it will make an announcement on the 2017 All-Star Game’s new location in the coming weeks. (The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is set for Los Angeles.)