Could Utah lose 2023 NBA All-Star Game over transgender sports bill?

2022 NBA All-Star Game
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In 2017, the NBA pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte after the state legislature passed the “bathroom bill” that restricted transgender bathroom use (people had to use the bathroom for the gender with which they were born).

Friday, Utah state lawmakers overrode the veto of Spencer Cox (a Republican) and approved a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ sports.

Utah — Salt Lake City specifically — is scheduled to host the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.

Will history repeat itself? Will the NBA pull next year’s All-Star Game from Salt Lake City? The precedent is there.

The only comment from the league office on this matter — to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune, who has been all over this story — was noncommital.

It should be noted the Jazz organization has publicly opposed this legislation from the start, as has team owner Ryan Smith.

“The Utah Jazz oppose discriminatory legislation. We are committed to our values of inclusivity, mutual respect, and fair play. Beyond basketball, we hope for an equitable solution that shows love and compassion for all our youth,” the team said in a statement Friday.

Whether that opposition is enough to keep the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City next February remains to be seen. The NCAA also had planned to use Salt Lake City as a regional site for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2023, which also is in jeopardy.

While the NBA pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte in 2017 (moving it to New Orleans), it put the 2019 All-Star Game in the city after relatively minor modifications to the bill were passed by the North Carolina legislature. If the NBA pulls the 2023 game from Salt Lake, it is likely the league will return in a few years.

For now, however, we wait.