NBA All-Star Championship returning to Charlotte in 2019
North Carolina professional basketball fans can rejoice: The 68th NBA All-Star Championship will be held Feb. 17, 2019, at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
Charlotte originally was set to host the 2017 All-Star Championship, but the NBA rescinded the award in response to House Bill 2, otherwise known as the “bathroom bill.”
In March, the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper agreed on a compromise with House Bill 142 to repeal H.B. 2. As a result, the NCAA allowed North Carolina to host college sports national championships once again and the Atlantic Coast Conference returned several off-campus championships to the state.
But not everyone is celebrating. Many LGBT activists, including Athlete Ally, which consulted with the NBA in the original decision to revoke Charlotte’s 2017 hosting status, say H.B. 142 did not address discrimination issues adequately.
“The NBA’s decision to return to North Carolina while anti-LGBT laws remain on the books is troubling,” Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally, said in an email to Carolina Journal. “We’re hopeful the NBA and its partners will use this opportunity to invest in the safety and well-being of the LGBT athletes, coaches, fans, officials, and administrators that continue to operate in a state that discriminates against them daily.”
Additionally, 57,000 people have signed a CREDO Action petition calling for Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott not to send student athletes to North Carolina until non-discrimination laws satisfying the LGBT community’s concerns are in effect statewide.
Cooper issued a brief statement lauding the decision and addressing its political significance.
“Hosting the All-Star Game will pump millions of dollars into our economy and provide an incredible showcase for our state, but it will also remind us of the work that remains to ensure equal rights and protections for all North Carolinians,” Cooper wrote. “I’m glad the NBA recognizes the progress we’ve made and will continue to be a partner as we push for statewide LGBT protections.”