NBA pulls All-Star game from Charlotte over transgender law

The NBA has canceled plans to hold its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., over a state law decried as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to a report on Thursday.The NBA is focused on moving ...

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Eastern Conference forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk during the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 14 in Toronto. (Photo by Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA has canceled plans to hold its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., over a state law decried as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to a report on Thursday.
The NBA is focused on moving the midseason showcase to New Orleans, which hosted the game in 2008 and 2014, but other cities are still vying for the extravaganza, according to a report on Yahoo.
The report, citing league sources, said the NBA is expected to make a formal announcement as soon as this week.
NBA officials did not immediately respond to when asked to comment.
A law passed in March made North Carolina the first U.S. state to require transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings and schools that match the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality North Carolina and the state’s only openly gay legislator, blamed the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and lawmakers for backing a measure that appeared to have resulted in Charlotte losing “a marquee event.”
“The warning signs were bright as they could be for the last 100 days while the NBA told state leaders that they would not be able to bring their fans to a place where all fans were not free from discrimination,” Sgro told in a phone interview on Thursday. “And Pat McCrory and legislative leaders doubled down on that discrimination.”
McCrory’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of NC Values Coalition, which supports the bathroom law, criticized the NBA’s decision.
“The NBA should be ashamed of itself for using North Carolina - particularly its young girls - as a political pawn for an out-of-touch agenda that compromises both dignity interests and privacy rights,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has previously said the law is “inconsistent with the core values” of the NBA and that the All-Star Weekend, which generates millions of dollars in economic activity, could be relocated as a result.
“The message is not that somehow the current state of affairs is OK for the league. Let me be clear, the current state of the law is problematic for the NBA,” Silver said after a board of governors meeting in April.
“We’re better off in many ways behind closed doors, working towards what should be the appropriate resolution, which is a change in the law.”
But according to the report, with the All-Star Weekend scheduled for mid-February, the time to make a decision was running out given the planning that goes into the event.
Silver has previously said the fact that the NBA has a team, the Charlotte Bobcats, based in North Carolina made the decision complicated.
Ahead of the NBA’s 2016 postseason earlier this year, Silver said it would send mixed messages if the NBA pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte while the Bobcats went ahead and held their playoff games there.
Yahoo also said the NBA even discussed moving the game to Las Vegas but scheduling conflicts at the new multipurpose T-Mobile Arena were part of the reason the idea never advanced past “high-level league conversations.”
Moving the event out of the state would follow similar moves by top entertainers that have canceled shows in North Carolina, including Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Boston, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and the group Cirque du Soleil.

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