The NBA is searching for a new host city for the 2017 All-Star game to replace Charlotte due to the firestorm of criticism over a North Carolina's law, known as House Bill 2, that dictates which restrooms transgender people can use.
The Vertical reports that an announcement could be made as early as this week. Multiple cities are reportedly trying to host the festivities on a weekend in February of next year, but New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center is the favorite to replace Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena.
For months, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been critical of North Carolina’s law, which says transgender people must use public restrooms labeled for the genders that appear on their birth certificates. It also prevents the state from expanding LGBT protections and makes workplaces exempt from facing discrimination lawsuits from state courts.
“I’d only say, one, we were waiting for the legislative session, and we were frankly hoping that they would make some steps toward modifying the legislation, and frankly I was disappointed that they didn’t,” Silver said during a news conference after the NBA’s board of governors meetings last week. “And then, coming out of that legislative session, we wanted the opportunity to talk directly to our teams. As I said, we had committee meetings today in addition to full board of governors, so we wanted to have the discussion with them. I think this is a very difficult issue for us, and we’re trying to be extremely cautious and deliberate in how we go about making the decision.
“But having said that, I recognize that we’re not trying to keep everyone in suspense. We recognize this decision needs to be made fairly quickly.”
Losing All-Star game will cost Charlotte $100m. Looking forward to hearing Gov. McCrory's ideas for making up that lost revenue. #ncpol
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) July 21, 2016
New Orleans hosted All-Star Weekend at the Smoothie King Center just two years ago, and the game was played at the New Orleans Arena in 2008. Charlotte only hosted the game in 1991 when the Hornets played their home games at the Charlotte Coliseum.
The 2016 All-Star Game was played at the Air Canada Center in Toronto.