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NBA announces 2019 All-Star game will be held in Charlotte

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, shown on May 6, announced Wednesday that the 2019 NBA All-Star Game will take place in Charlotte.
(Gene Sweeney Jr. / Getty Images)

The NBA All-Star game is headed back to Charlotte in 2019, a couple of years later than anticipated.

The NBA announced that the All-Star weekend will be held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte and the game will be played at the Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.

The league had selected Charlotte to host the 2017 All-Star game but later moved the game to New Orleans because of a North Carolina law restricting the rights of LGBTQ people. However, a compromise was struck in March to partially erase the impact of the House Bill 2 law limiting anti-discrimination protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

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“While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. “Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies.

“All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.”

Despite Silver’s intentions, the Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign have concerns that no protections for non-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community have been put in place by Charlotte or the state.

“North Carolina’s discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs.

The NBA is the latest sports entity to return events to North Carolina; the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also are bringing events back to the state after changes were made to the law.

The now-repealed House Bill 2 required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. That has been dropped, but LGBTQ advocates have denounced the replacement law because state officials took no action barring sexual identity and gender discrimination in workplaces, restaurants and hotels and instead prohibited local governments from acting on their own.

Hornets owner and longtime NBA great Michael Jordan said in a release he is “thrilled” the game is coming back to Charlotte.

“We want to thank Commissioner Silver for his leadership throughout this process and for the decision to bring NBA All-Star back to Buzz City,” Jordan said in the release. “All-Star Weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world.”


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