The NBA fancies itself an instrument of social change more than is probably accurate, but the league definitely led here.
No, the NBA wasn’t the first business to remove money from North Carolina after the state passed its infamous anti-gay bill. But the NBA publicly denouncing the law then moving the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte sent strong messages. The popularity of sports offers a platform to bring light to a cause – especially when the league’s stance is backed by current players, former players and coaches.
The NCAA followed the NBA’s lead, pulling its championship events from North Carolina.
North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and numerous lower-level teams still play in the state. The Hornets aren’t leaving Charlotte. Practical realities exist.
But the message – bellowed by the NBA and now others – to North Carolina is clear: Choose between economic activity and discriminating against your citizens.