NBA pulls All-Star Game from Charlotte due to LGBT legislation

Krystal Johnson and agencies

The NBA is moving their 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte due to recently enacted North Carolina legislation limiting LGBT anti-discrimination protections in the state.

The legislation, which was passed in March, mandated that transgender people use public bathrooms that match their birth gender.

Kyrie Irving brings the ball up court during the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. Photo: Reuters

The law's passage created an immediate and severe backlash from businesses raising speculation the NBA would stick to its progress stance and likely to move the game.

Now the NBA is focused on the New Orleans as the host for the All-Star Game on February 19.

"The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019," a statement read.

For now, there are still other cities trying to lure the All-Star Game, sources said.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk during the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. Photo: Reuters

“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.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move the game unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed.

Mr Silver said this needed to be done as soon as possible because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event.

The city of Charlotte is aiming to host the game in 2019.

The issue is centered on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The law also omits LGBT people from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination protections, forbids local governments from widening LGBT protections and excludes all forms of workplace discrimination lawsuits from North Carolina state courts.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move the game unless a discriminatory North Carolina law against LGBT was changed. Photo: AP

“While we recognise 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 league said.

"We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had been counting on All-Star Weekend as a signature event for his franchise, and the economic impact of losing the All-Star Game for the franchise and region promises to be dramatic.

The NBA had discussed moving the All-Star Game to the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, sources said, but scheduling conflicts at the facility became part of the reason the idea never advanced past high-level league conversations during the Las Vegas summer league this month, sources said.

New Orleans hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014.