CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — The NBA is “not ready to make a decision” as to whether Charlotte will host the 2017 NBA All Star Game next February, according to Commissioner Adam Silver.
“We’re not ready to make a decision, but we recognize the calendar is not our friend here,” Silver said.
Silver was in Las Vegas as the NBA owners hold their annual off season meeting. He said the NBA Board of Governors did receive updates on the situation with House Bill 2 in North Carolina, but said they did not vote on the issue.
“Is this the place we should be in February 2017 as the epicenter of global basketball? Where we can go to celebrate our game and our values,” Silver asked.
The Associated Press obtained a letter sent by technology industry leaders, urging Silver to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte, unless HB2 is repealed “in very short order.”
“The primary test is whether under this law we can successfully host our All Star Week,” Silver said.
In the letter, the executives said putting fans at risk of discrimination would “send a terrible message about who the NBA is and what it values as an organization, and set a dangerous precedent.”
House Bill 2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities, and took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things.
The bill was passed in a one-day special session and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.
Last month, On Your Side Investigates obtained draft legislation that would allow for the restoration on the right to sue employers in state court. Another provision would allow transgender individuals to use a certificate of sex reassignment to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.
The legislation was the result of months of conversations between leadership in the state legislature, including the Speaker’s office, and officials from the NBA, On Your Side Investigates learned.
On Tuesday morning, McCrory said he and other state leaders had taken steps to address the NBA’s concerns.
“We had extremely positive dialogue with the NBA during the past month, with Adam directly, and with the speaker and the president in where we discussed where we agreed and where we disagreed and some possible consensus,” McCrory said in an exclusive interview with On Your Side Investigates.
McCrory said the proposed legislation that came as a result of talks with the NBA was scuttled because of opposition from some special interest groups and Raleigh politicians who had advocated for full repeal of the law.
At the time, a person with knowledge of the NBA’s thinking said passage of the bill would go a long way towards keeping the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte. The league later announced that it opposed the proposed changes.
A deal to pass an updated version of that legislation fell through on the penultimate day of the short session.