NBA Commissioner: League Will Move All-Star Game If North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Is Not Changed

Adam Silver says the league has been "crystal clear" about taking the tournament elsewhere.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced today that the league will move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte if North Carolina does not change its anti-LGBT law.

“We’ve been crystal clear 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,” Silver said at a meeting with the AP.

Exactly what kind of “change” other than a full repeal would satisfy the NBA is not clear.

ONTARIO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 13: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gives a speech during a press conference before NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre in Ontario, Canada on February 13, 2016. (Photo by Seyit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Seyit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Silver said he was hoping to use “constructive engagement” to affect change, “as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying ‘do this or else.'” But threatening to yank a major basketball event seems like a pretty big gun.

Sports legends and commentators have been weighing in since HB2 passed., Last night on Real Sports, Bryant Gumbel addressed the measure.

“It uses the guise of bathroom concerns to deny certain rights to gay and transgender people and effectively green lights discrimination towards them,” he told viewers. “What does that have to do with sports? Not a lot—only that many of our top sports officials have so far turned a blind eye when taking action could mean a lot.”

Bryant Gumbal
HBO

Gumbal explicitly called on Silver to move the All-Star Game, as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NCAA President Roger Emmert to take their tournaments and meetings elsewhere, as well.

“Since it’s never too late to do the right thing, here’s hoping all those guys may yet lead by showing lawmakers in North Carolina and other states considering such measure that their bigotry has a price,” he added. “Here’s hoping they come to understand what smarter people have often said: ’prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged.'”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery