Fourteen years after the Hornets left North Carolina for Louisiana, New Orleans appears to be primed to swipe another NBA entity from the city of Charlotte. Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA is close to taking the 2017 All-Star Game, which was scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C. next February, and moving it to New Orleans as a result of North Carolina's controversial anti-LGBT bathroom law.
The NBA hasn't revealed where the 2017 All-Star Game will take place yet, but they have confirmed that it won't be held in Charlotte. The league released this statement on Thursday afternoon:
This news doesn't come as a total surprise as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had previously discussed the idea of moving the ASG if state legislators in North Carolina refused to rethink the law, which requires transgender people to use the bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. In April, Silver said a change would need to be made to the law in order for the NBA to follow through on their plan to hold the ASG in Charlotte.
"The sense was that if the NBA could give us some time, they in the community of North Carolina were optimistic they would see a change in the law," he said. "They weren't guaranteeing it and I think which was why my response was the event still is 10 months from now, we don't need to make a decision yet. We’ve been, I think, crystal clear that we believe a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event."
Kevin Durant was the first big-name player to weigh in.
Hornets team owner Michael Jordan released a statement about the NBA's final decision on Thursday:
We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so. With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the controversial figure at the center of this legislation, also released a statement, implying the NBA is a "left-wing special interest group."
The Charlotte mayor, Jennifer Roberts, released a statement that seemed to support the NBA's decision.
Stay tuned to see where the NBA ultimately decides to put the 2017 All-Star Game.