The NBA is expected to make a decision by the end of this month about whether to host its 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte.
Last week, North Carolina lawmakers voted to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law the NBA cited last summer in deciding to move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans. This week, the league hosts its regularly scheduled board of governors meetings in New York, and HB2 will be discussed Thursday, sources familiar with the meetings told the Observer.
The league won’t necessarily hold a vote this week on whether to return the game to Charlotte, however. But in coming weeks – by the end of April – the NBA should have a decision, the sources said.
HB2 limited legal protection for LGBT individuals. The measure also required transgender people in government-run buildings to use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. The NBA called the law discriminatory, but said it would return the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019 if it concluded sufficient changes had been made to the measure.
The law’s replacement, HB142, repeals HB2 and its controversial bathroom provision. But it forbids cities from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances until 2020.
It remains to be seen whether HB2’s replacement meets the NBA’s criteria for returning the All-Star Game to Charlotte. Last summer before it relocated the game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said if “basic protections” for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community could be addressed, “we absolutely will see you in Charlotte next February.”
“The bathroom issue has become a little bit of a distraction,” Silver told reporters then. “From the very beginning, that was not the core issue (in the NBA’s unease). It was protection for the LGBT community in terms of economic rights, personal rights.”
The 2019 All-Star Game would be played uptown at the Spectrum Center. The Charlotte Hornets declined to comment about the NBA’s pending decision.
Along with the NBA, the NCAA, ACC and CIAA all pulled various championship events in North Carolina over opposition to HB2.
On Tuesday, the NCAA said its board voted “reluctantly” to consider championship bids in North Carolina. The association is currently making championships site selections for 2018-2022, and is expected to announce sites April 18. The ACC similarly said last week it will again consider North Carolina to host tournaments following the HB2 repeal deal.
The CIAA, the country’s oldest African-American sports conference, has not yet weighed in on the HB2 replacement. The CIAA, based in Charlotte, hosts one of the city’s biggest annual events, a basketball tournament, every February uptown.