NBA questions 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte after new North Carolina discrimination law

21 Comments

Last month, city leaders in Charlotte passed an anti-discrimination law that included protections for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in the city.

Wednesday, the North Carolina legislature overruled them, passing a law that limits city’s ability to pass those laws and rolling back the Charlotte ordinance as it relates to the LGBT community. Specifically, the legislature used the red herring of transgendered people in bathrooms to scare people and pass a law that opens the door for discrimination against all gays and lesbians. The Governor signed it. This is now the law in North Carolina, one that opens the door to discrimination against a segment of society.

The NBA is scheduled to host the All-Star Game in Charlotte next season, Stephen Curry‘s hometown and Michael Jordan’s team, but that was put in question by a statement released by the league Thursday.

“The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”

The NBA wasn’t alone. Apple is a big employer in the state and released this statement.

“Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity, and not discrimination and division. We were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation.”

Good on the NBA. If your values as a business conflict with the regressive, backwards laws some places choose to pass, take your business elsewhere.

The challenge to moving the All-Star game is logistical — the All-Star Game is a massive traveling show that is not easily altered less than a year from the event. Arenas need to be open, thousands of hotel rooms need to be available, a place for the All-Star Jam to happen needs to be available, plus there are countless side events with the NBA and its business partners already focused on Charlotte. Moving it would bet a logistical nightmare. Could a major market and place used to massive events — Los Angeles (scheduled to get the game in 2018), New York, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas — absorb the event on short notice?

It’s something to watch. But if the NBA can’t move the event, expect some very public moves by the league to include a LGBT presence at the game next February.