NBA Says LGBT Law Must Change for All-Star Game to Stay In North Carolina

“A change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says

Adam Silver
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As musicians and businesses continue to cancel events in North Carolina in the wake of HB2’s controversial passage, the NBA has become the latest organization to consider pulling up stakes if the anti-gay law isn’t repealed.

While speaking at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings Thursday, league head Adam Silver said that a “change in the law” would be necessary for the NBA to move forward with hosting next year’s All-Star game in Charlotte, according to CBS Sports. It is a slight change from the statement the league made last week, when Silver said they were not announcing any immediate plans to change the host city.

“We’ve been, I think, 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. The league has not set any timetable or deadline for when they would move the All-Star game, if at all.

Silver also spoke on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show Thursday, where he reiterated his statement from last week that he wanted to work with state officials rather than threaten them.

“Constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying ‘do this or else,’” Silver told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.

Last week, the NBA received a letter from six U.S. senators urging the league to move the game. The letter was signed by five Democrats — Jeff Merkley (OR), Pat Leahy (VT), Cory Booker (NJ), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Patty Murray (WA) — along with Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk. The letter is part of a massive backlash against the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as House Bill 2, which requires transgender men and women to use public restrooms based on their birth gender. The bill also excludes LGBT people from employment discrimination protections.

Multiple musicians and entertainment groups have cancelled shows in North Carolina in response to the law, including Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, and Cirque Du Soleil. In spite of the threats to local business, North Carolina’s Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger insisted yesterday that the law would not be repealed.

“My job is not to give into the demands of multimillionaire celebrities pushing a pet social agenda,” said Berger. “My job is to listen to the people who elected us to represent them, and the vast majority of North Carolinians we’ve heard from understand and support this reasonable, common-sense law.”

Charlotte is set to host the NBA All-Star game in February 2017.