CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After a repeal of the controversial House Bill 2 was passed by North Carolina lawmakers in March, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Charlotte will be eligible to host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
Silver made the announcement during the league's Board of Governors press conference Friday.
“This is not an easy decision,” said Silver. “The most recent change in the law does not mean the fundamental issues are resolved. But after considering all points of view, we have concluded that Charlotte will be eligible to host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.”
Charlotte was initially slated to host the 2017 All-Star Game, but the league relocated the All-Star weekend to New Orleans over HB2. Silver said that Charlotte has deep roots within the NBA, and is hopeful that changed attitudes will lead to a national effort toward protecting LGBT citizens.
“When Charlotte resubmits its application, we will need to ensure that our events can proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies and that we can extend those policies to the venues, hotels, and businesses that we would work with during the All-Star (weekend),” Silver said.
“Our decision was guided in part by the fact that we have strong roots in North Carolina. We, of course, have an NBA team in Charlotte, and it’s been there for nearly three decades. Twenty-nine NBA teams travel every year to play in Charlotte, stay in its hotels and eat in its restaurants.”
When asked if it's a guarantee the 2019 All-Star Game will be held in Charlotte, Silver said it's not a given the Queen City will host the event.
“It’s not a done deal yet. We now need to go back to Charlotte and ensure that one, all our typical requirements in terms of hotel rooms, other venues that we need for our events, are satisfied, and in addition, we are going to develop an anti-discrimination policy and then ask all of our participating partners to sign onto that policy as part of our All-Star festivities," explained Silver.
"If those requirements are met, it’s our expectation the All-Star festivities will be there for 2019.”
The Charlotte Hornets released the following statement regarding Silver's decision:
“We are excited that the NBA has once again made the City of Charlotte eligible to host All-Star Weekend in 2019. We look forward to resuming our discussions with the league on the next steps regarding this international event. We know that our city, our fans and our business community remain extremely enthusiastic in support of hosting NBA All-Star Weekend.
Additionally, as stewards of Spectrum Center, we are pleased that the NCAA and ACC have chosen to allow previously-scheduled tournament games to remain in our arena and to allow us be considered for future events. Whether it is sporting events, concerts or family shows, Hornets Sports & Entertainment remains committed to providing the best possible entertainment to our city and takes great pride in the fact that Spectrum Center serves as an economic engine for Charlotte.The Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment remain opposed to discrimination of any form. As we always have, we will continue to provide an inclusive environment for anyone attending an event at Spectrum Center.”'
N.C. General Assembly leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger released a joint statement Friday afternoon:
“We are encouraged that the NBA expects to award its 2019 All-Star Game to North Carolina and that it shares our long-held belief that private businesses, including potential host venues, have every right to expand on federal non-discrimination policies however they wish.”