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Charlotte Talks: The NBA All-Star Game Finally Comes To Charlotte

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019

A lot has changed since the last time Charlotte hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1991. This time, uptown is lively, there's a Hornet in the starting lineup and Michael Jordan is an owner. Guest host Erik Spanberg talks with the Hornets' Fred Whitfield and others about what to expect this weekend.

On top of all that, two Charlotte natives will square off in the three-point contest, the sons of Dell Curry, who was playing in the NBA the season of that All-Star Game in 1991.

Fred Whitfield, the Charlotte Hornets' president, at WFAE's Spirit Square studio.

The game was originally scheduled to be in 2017, until that was set back by HB-2. Some higher-ups in the Hornets front office worked tenaciously to lobby members of North Carolina's General Assembly to repeal the bill, and they eventually did with enough of an amendment that the NBA agreed to bring the All-Star Game to Charlotte. That change also brought a lot of other sporting events back to the state.

This weekend, the NBA is requiring vendors and venues to  have anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation, including the use of bathrooms based on a person’s gender identity.

Pete Guelli, the Charlotte Hornets' COO and executive vice president.

And, this time, business is booming uptown. During the last large-scale sporting event in Charlotte, the NCAA tournament in 1994, the city set up temporary stores and restaurants uptown in storefronts that had been unoccupied and were empty after the game. Now, the streets are busy with restaurants, bars and breweries. This weekend, there will even be pop-up shops across the city as an all-star cast of celebrities make their way to town.


Erik Spanberg, managing editor, Charlotte Business Journal 


Pete Guelli, Executive Vice President and COO, the Charlotte Hornets

Katie Peralta, Retail and sports business reporter, The Charlotte Observer

Fred Whitfield, president, vice chairman, alternate governor and minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets

Dell Curry, former Hornets leading scorer and father of Stephen and Seth Curry 

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Cole del Charco is a journalist, writer and radio producer from Hickory, North Carolina.