NBA boss says moving All Star game from North Carolina was a business decision

The Commissioner of the NBA has said that moving the 2017 All Star game from Charlotte, North Carolina, was a business decision, noting the state’s anti-LGBT HB2.

The NBA announced last week that it had opted to move its 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, in protest against the state’s anti-LGBT HB2, which was introduced this year.

The league previously said it was “deeply concerned” by North Carolina’s recently passed HB2, which rolled back pre-existing LGBT rights protections.

2014 GLAAD San Francisco Gala

The NBA had previously hinted that it might move the February 2017 game out of Charlotte, but later said it would prefer to keep a “presence” in the state.

“The NBA recognises that it cannot choose the law in every country, state, and city in which it does business. We can, however, make business judgments as to where we will be able to conduct our events successfully,” Silver wrote in a letter to Representative Robert Pittenger.

Charlotte, which is in Pittenger’s district, is estimated to be set to lose $100 million from the removal of the game.

Pittenger wrote back criticising the NBA for staging games in China, noting human rights abuses in the country.

Yesterday it emerged that out gay Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts had influenced the decision at an NBA board meeting at which he said he would not be comfortable at the All Star game if it were in Charlotte.

USA Today reports that Welts’ words “weren’t emotional” but that he simply said he would not attend if the game were to take place in North Carolina.

It was thought that HB2 would be repealed or revised in North Carolina, but lawmakers in the state last month adjourned, leaving the law barely changed.

Previously tweeting, the NBA said it was “deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principals of equality and mutual respect and do not know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte.”

“It would be easy to say we’re moving it,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver clarified on Friday.

“We feel there’s a constructive role for the league to play. If we announce we’re moving it now, what’s the incentive to change the law?”

Hundreds of business leaders have urged the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2, and multiple celebrities have pulled out of appearances, including Ringo Starr and, Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen was even accused of using “bully tactics” for cancelling the concert by one of the state’s Representatives.

But dozens of celebrities and hundreds of fans came to the defence of Springsteen, commending him for taking a stand.

Others such as Mumford and Sons and Cyndi Lauper have said they will appear but that they will donate their profits to LGBT rights organisations.

Mississippi also faces similar threats as Bryan Adams and Sharon Stone have pulled out of appearances there.

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