The NBA’s All-Star game is officially being relocated from Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to the state’s anti-LGBT laws. A new destination hasn’t yet been finalized, but New Orleans, Louisiana, looks like a front runner.
In April, Wear Your Voice reported that the NBA was threatening to move the game. In particular, the relocation was proposed in response to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the restroom according to their gender at birth.
Just moments after today’s announcement, Jonathan Jones, who covers the state’s football team, the Carolina Panthers, tweeted:
Tell you what, tho. I'd now be willing to bet HB2 gets repealed. $100m+ gone from the state's largest city will force some action, methinks
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) July 21, 2016
NBA MVP Stephen Curry (who was raised in Charlotte, where his father, Dell, played professionally) said that while he loves the city, he understands the decision.
And then North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson said:
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) July 21, 2016
Jackson (D) has been very outspoken about HB2. Before the decision came down today, Jackson was quoted as saying losing the All-Star game would be a “$100 million hit to the city of Charlotte and the state. A lot of that money would go to schools, healthcare and roads. We’ve sacrificed all of that for Gov. McCrory’s social agenda. He would rather pander to his base than fix an obvious mistake that has major consequences.”
Given the financial and social impact, this was no easy decision for the NBA. But they deserve a lot of credit for standing up to what they believe is right.
And it’s not the first time for the league, or North Carolina.
In 1958, as black players were becoming the more prominent faces of the NBA, Jim Crow laws were still in effect in North Carolina. This meant that when teams traveled there for games, black players could not eat at restaurants with white players and were put up in separate hotels. Owners of many franchises, including the Celtics and Lakers, were outraged. Those outdated policies changed, and this one needs to as well.
Kudos to the NBA for taking action against this injustice. Hopefully change is on the way.