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HB2 Kills NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte

Michael Bethea
Gov. and Charlotte business leaders were all smiles last summer as they listened to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announce the 2017 All-Star game would be in Charlotte.

What started as speculation over House Bill 2 has now become fact. The 2017 NBA All Star Game will not be played in Charlotte.

The NBA’s view on House Bill 2 has been known for some time.

“There’s a long track record in this league of being in the forefront on issues impacting human rights and discrimination,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said April 15th, less than a month after the General Assembly passed the law in special session.

“And, of course, this league and dare I speak for all leagues is against discrimination in any form,” Silver added.

And since then, Governor McCrory and other state Republicans have repeatedly stated the backlash – the canceled concerts, canceled conventions and canceled plans by businesses like PayPal and Deutchebank – are being fueled by left wing activists, the media and ideological extremists.

The law mandates that people use the public restroom and shower corresponding with the sex listed on their birth certificate, and blocks municipalities from including LGBT people as a protected class. 

The governor and other state lawmakers say it is simply common sense, a way to protect women. children and privacy.

They said it was simply being misrepresented or misunderstood. Back in April, Silver took on that argument.

“Governor McCrory has said he thinks there is enormous misunderstanding about this law. I would say I also believe there is enormous misunderstanding here about this law.  I’m frankly, I’m not even sure the genesis of this law. I don’t understand why the legislature felt the need for this law,” Silver said.

And the league has been pushing for the law to be significantly changed or repealed. The General Assembly did change one aspect of the law – they restored the right to sue for discrimination in state court – but with some new restrictions.

But other controversial provisions remained intact.

In announcing Charlotte had lost the All Star Game, the NBA stated:

“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.”

In response, McCrory issued his own statement which blamed the move on a lot of elites.

The sports elite, entertainment elite, and, of course, the liberal media, which he says have misrepresented the law and maligned the people of North Carolina:

Credit NBA
The logo for the now cancelled Charlotte hosted 2017 NBA All Star Game

“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.”

McCrory was singing another tune just over a year ago, when he praised Silver when it was  announced Charlotte would host the All Star Game

“Mr. Commissioner, we’ve always appreciated the relationship during the tough times, during the good times, but you never gave up on Charlotte. And I now just want to thank you as governor and as former mayor, you never gave up on Charlotte and that means a lot to us.>”

And while McCrory’s sentiment has obviously changed, one thing still holds true. The NBA hasn’t given up on Charlotte – or trying to influence changes in HB 2.

The league’s statement ends by saying:

“We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”