TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley says if North Carolina doesn’t change or repeal House Bill 2, then the league should move the 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte.
Barkley, a former 11-time All-Star forward, feels strongly enough about this that he might boycott the event, which TNT televises annually.
"I told my boss, I don’t want to act like I’m jumping on a sword," Barkley said during an appearance on the Dan Patrick radio program, "but I’ve talked to (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver; we need to move the All-Star Game.
"I hope they don’t put me in a situation where I have to boycott the All-Star Game. We need to move the All-Star Game."
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The law commonly known as HB2 rescinded a Charlotte city ordinance that would have allowed transgender persons to choose public bathrooms based on the gender with which they identify. In addition, HB2 blocks a path North Carolinians had to file discrimination claims in state courts. That leaves the more expensive and time-sensitive federal-courts process as the main route for North Carolinians bringing age, gender and discrimination claims.
At a news conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Silver said he’s primarily concerned with the rights issues involving the LGBT community, rather than the bathroom restrictions. Silver was in North Carolina last month, hoping to coax a compromise between state government and Charlotte city officials that would change or repeal HB2.
While no decision had been made about whether the All-Star Weekend will be moved, Silver acknowledged the NBA has started looking at alternative cities for the event.
Still, Silver had a hopeful tone about reaching a compromise that would leave the event in Charlotte. The All-Star Weekend is projected to have up to $100 million in economic impact.
"I think both sides of the issue realize, no matter how heart-felt their views are, that the current state-of-being is causing enormous economic damage to the state," Silver said.
"There is absolutely strong interest in working something out."
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell