CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - The 2017 NBA All-Star game will be relocated from Charlotte after the state failed to reverse its decision on House Bill 2, North Carolina's controversial bathroom bill, the NBA announced Thursday.
"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 in HB2," the NBA said in a statement.
Earlier reports indicated the All-Star game could move to New Orleans. So far, no decision has been made as to where the 2017 game will be held. The NBA is expected to make another announcement on the new location in the coming weeks.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said "The NBA has been a great partner, so we would be excited to host the 2017 All Star Game if called upon."
The Charlotte Hornets and Chairman Michael Jordan released the following statement regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game:
“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.”
Officials expected the NBA All-Star Game to bring in about $100 million in new revenue for the city. State Senator Jeff Jackson (NC-237) took to twitter to explain the effect the loss would have on the local economy.
"No matter how strongly I disagreed with #HB2, I still asked NBA to stand in solidarity with Charlotte. Don't punish the city that stood up," Sen. Jackson tweeted. "Losing the All-Star game won't just hurt Charlotte. The state will lose millions in sales/income tax for public education, health care, etc."
Mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts expressed that she was "deeply disappointed that the discriminatory actions reflected in HB2 have caused the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte."
The Charlotte Regional Visitor's Authority said in a statement that they "hope to be able to work with the NBA in the future to show them the inclusive and welcoming spirit," Charlotte can provide.
Despite the disappointing announcement, the Charlotte Chamber said the city "has been and will continue to be a city that embraces and promotes diversity, inclusiveness and equality. We oppose discrimination in all forms."
Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) had this reaction to reports the NBA will move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte due to North Carolina’s bathroom privacy law:
“Last week, I met with constituents from China who outlined the Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for preseason games in China next week. Is the NBA implying China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights is acceptable, but North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girls’ locker room is a bridge too far? What is the NBA’s true priority? The unmistakable hypocrisy is clear to me. You be your own judge.”
In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hailed the NBA’s decision saying, "NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans."
Governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) released the following statement on the NBA's decision about the 2017 All-Star game:
“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. 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.”
Under North Carolina's Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as HB2, it is illegal for North Carolina municipalities to extend rights to some people who identify as gay or transgender. The law also removes the statutory and common-law private right of action to enforce state anti-discrimination statutes in state courts.
CIAA released the following statement regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game:
"The CIAA strongly disagrees with House Bill 2 and does not support any form of discrimination. We are committed to our Charlotte community and have no intentions to relocate our headquarters or the upcoming Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. As we assess current and future championship locations, the CIAA will ensure that the host city and venue demonstrate a commitment to provide inclusive and non-discriminatory practices. In addition, the Conference will continue to collaborate with organizations and its member institutions to educate, implement, and tell a story that will leave a lasting impact and establish change in our communities."
A new poll conducted by Public Polling Policy found that only 35 percent of North Carolinians support HB2.
The NBA went on to say that while they have decided to relocate from Charlotte, it is their hope of rescheduling for 2019.