North Carolina to host 2019 NBA All Star Game after partial repeal of anti-LGBT law

The US state of North Carolina will host the 2019 NBA All Star game after partially repealing its anti-LGBT bathroom bill.

The state previously lost the 2017 game, which was moved away from Charlotte, North Carolina, after lawmakers failed to repeal the bill, HB2, in time.

The NBA moved the game from Charlotte, North Carolina to New Orleans earlier this year, over the widely-condemned law which banned trans people from using gender-appropriate restrooms.


But on Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the game would be hosted at Charlotte, North Carolina, between 15 and 17 February 2019.

The game will take place on the final day at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

But many have criticised the “compromise” deal to repeal HB2, saying because it blocks local authorities from enacting LGBT discrimination protections, the repeal does not go far enough.

The Human Rights Campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof said: “North Carolina’s discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact.

“It’s critically important that people understand the gravity of this situation, which has had the effect of extending discrimination and endangering LGBTQ people across the state of North Carolina.”

“All-Star weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world,” said Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, also a player with the Chicago Bulls.

Silver added it was “not an easy decision,” and that it is “not a done deal”, but that it was his “expectation” that the state would get the event if it meets nondiscrimination requirements.

The 2018 game is already scheduled for Los Angeles.

Announced by Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper as a “compromise,” HB142 outraged LGBT leaders.

Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro said it was a “fake repeal,” while Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the law a “disaster” which “doubles down on discrimination”.

But despite the backlash, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which makes about $1 billion a year in revenue, said its board of governors had “reluctantly” overturned its prohibition.

Bids from the state to hold the NCAA Championship will now be considered again, and the championships previously awarded to North Carolina for next season will take place.

An out gay NBA executive helped to influence the decision to move the 2017 All Star game away from North Carolina in protest against the state’s anti-LGBT law.