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Citing HB2, tech leaders want NBA All-Star Game moved from Charlotte

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement last June at a press conference at Time Warner Cable Arena that Charlotte was been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement last June at a press conference at Time Warner Cable Arena that Charlotte was been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017. The Charlotte Observer

Technology industry leaders have urged NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte unless a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people is repealed “in very short order.”

In a letter sent Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, the executives tell Silver that putting fans at risk of discrimination would “send a terrible message about who the NBA is and what it values as an organization, and set a dangerous precedent.”

“If the NBA holds events in North Carolina while HB2 remains law, players, employees, and fans will be at risk of discrimination — and that’s wrong,” the letter said.

The All-Star weekend is set for next February.

Silver has made it clear the league needs changes to the HB2 law in order to stage the weekend there but has resisted setting any deadlines for when he might act, believing positive dialogue is ongoing.

“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said in April.

He has said, however, a decision probably would have to be made this summer.

The letter was sent by SV Angel founder and co-managing partner Ron Conway and includes signatures from executives from companies such as Google, Reddit, PayPal, Lyft and Pinterest.

A number of entertainment acts have canceled North Carolina events because of the law, and Silver has already received calls for the NBA to do the same.

They ask the NBA to be a “strong ally to the LGBTQ community” and use “its considerable might to bring advocates into those conversations and press for full repeal of the law.”

“The NBA has nothing to lose by taking a stand alongside hundreds of other companies and showing support for its LGBTQ players, employees, and fans,” the letter said.

The letter comes from some people who might be at All-Star weekend — the league holds a tech summit as part of the events.

“Discrimination is bad for the league, bad for people and bad for business and we hope you will join us in sending that message, loud and clear in North Carolina,” the letter said.

NBA owners are holding their annual offseason meeting this week in Las Vegas. Silver will address members of the media Tuesday evening at the conclusion of the meeting. Observer reporter Katie Peralta contributed.

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