CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NBA has officially announced the relocation of the 2017 All-Star weekend from Charlotte in response to the state's anti-LGBT legislation.
In a statement emailed to NBC Charlotte Thursday evening, the NBA said they hope to reschedule the game in 2019.
"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," the statement read.
“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.
“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. While we recognize 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.
“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons – including members of the LGBT community – feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena."
The statement concluded that the NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the game in coming weeks.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told NBC Charlotte Thursday, "The NBA has been a great partner, so we would be excited to host the 2017 All-Star Game if called upon. New Orleans is a diverse, open city, and we pride ourselves on our ability to host major sports entertainment events."
At the league’s board of governor’s meeting in Las Vegas last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters “We were frankly hoping that they would make some steps toward modifying the legislation, and frankly I was disappointed that they didn’t.”
"I am deeply disappointed that the discriminatory actions reflected in HB2 have caused the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte," Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said in a statement. "All-Star weekend would have provided an excellent opportunity to further showcase our great and welcoming city."
The Charlotte Hornets responded to the news by saying, "We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so. With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.”
North Carolina's Governor, Pat McCrory, released the following statement:
“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”
The law, which was passed by the state’s general assembly during a special session in March, bans local municipalities from enacting non-discriminatory ordinances designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Three months ago at the Associated Press Sports Editors meeting, Silver said, “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, citing the league's core principles of diversity and inclusion, had said moving the All-Star Game was a possibility when meeting with the media ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
“It was a value built from the ground floor up in this league long before I ever got involved in it, and I'm sort of carrying the mantle now,” Silver said in early June. “But I know I speak on behalf of our owners, our teams and our players. I think they all feel very strongly that this is a core principle of our league, and that where we choose to celebrate something like an All-Star Game, that those values should be honored."
The state’s general assembly had a chance at revising the bill before adjourning for the year but did not any changes that appeased the NBA.
No matter how strongly I disagreed with #HB2, I still asked NBA to stand in solidarity with Charlotte. Don't punish the city that stood up.— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) July 21, 2016
Congressman Robert Pittenger's office released the following statement after the news was made official by the NBA:
“Last week, I met with constituents from China who outlined the Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for preseason games in China next week. Is the NBA implying China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights is acceptable, but North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girls’ locker room is a bridge too far? What is the NBA’s true priority? The unmistakable hypocrisy is clear to me. You be your own judge.”
"I'm looking forward to hearing from the Governor about how he plans to make up the 100 million dollars this just caused Charlotte. Something tells me this has no plan," said Senator Jeff Jackson.
Senator Jackson says the total cost for HB2 is now likely over a half billion dollars to just Charlotte alone.
House representative and Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro said, "If we don't come back into special session to deal with this problem right now, Governor McCrory and leadership are negligent-- the writing is on the wall-- NC can’t continue to have the most anti-LGBT bill in the nation and be a prosperous progressive southern state unless we immediately repeal HB2.”
NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald supports the Governor, "We don't believe the NBA should be bullying the state into a radical political agenda that embraces, forcing grown men into bathrooms, lockers rooms and showers of young girls. We believe privacy and safety of citizens its more important than a single basketball game."
The All-Star Game website says if you had tickets, you'll get a 100% refund.