The NBA has pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, the leagueannounced Thursday.
New Orleans has emerged as the favorite to be the new host, reports The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league said in a statement it hopes to hold the game in North Carolina in 2019.
The NBA held discussions about moving the game in the wake of North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill,” legislation passed earlier this year that has been criticized as anti-LGBT. Formally known as House Bill 2, the law forces transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate.
“Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community—current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans,” the league said in a statement. “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.”
The Hornets released a statement after the decision, saying they understood the challenges of hosting the game in Charlotte.
Retired NBA center Jason Collins, who is openly gay, released a statement on the matter as well.
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory released a statement on the matter:
House Bill 2 has been widely denounced in the basketball community, with Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski among those opposing it.
New Orleans last hosted an All-Star game in 2014.