Adam Silver on Charlotte All-Star Game: 'We are looking at alternatives'
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the issue needs to be resolved this summer
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the NBA is looking at alternatives in the event that it decides to move the 2017 All-Star weekend, which is scheduled to take place in Charlotte next February. In March, the league released a statement saying that House Bill 2 in North Carolina is a "discriminatory law" that "runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect."
Silver has since said that the All-Star Game will not be played in Charlotte if the law isn't changed, but he had declined to provide a deadline for this decision. Before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he said that this would have to be resolved before the end of the summer.
"Let me begin by saying what I haven't said is that we're not looking at alternatives," Silver said. "We are looking at alternatives. So the critical date for us is are we in a position, if for some reason we don't move forward in Charlotte, to play our All-Star Game somewhere else? We are in the process of looking at other options. At the same time, I don't think it would be productive to draw a line in the sand, and we'd be moving on if I didn't think there were constructive discussions going on in North Carolina right now."
Silver said that, if he didn't think there was goodwill in those discussions, the league would simply announce that the All-Star Game would be moved. He sounded optimistic.
"People from both sides of the aisle and people who have very differing views on this issue are coming together and saying this is now an issue much bigger than North Carolina," Silver said. "As I said, at least the bathroom portion of it is going to be played out in the federal courts and by experts when dealing with facilities for students. But I think the community is coming together in North Carolina in a very productive way in recognizing changes should be made. And incidentally, believe me, I don't want to suggest that the NBA is all important. They're doing it for their own reasons. And I think that's the way it should be. Not because the NBA said, 'Change your law or we're moving our All-Star Game.' I know, we're not that big. We're not that important at the end of the day. But one of the core principles, underlying principles of this league is diversity and inclusion."
The Charlotte Hornets do not want to lose this event, and the state does not want to lose the revenue it will generate. In late April, Hornets owner Michael Jordan released a statement saying that the franchise opposes any form of discrimination and wants Time Warner Cable Arena to be an inclusive environment.
If All-Star is not hosted in Charlotte, the logistics will surely be challenging. For a league and a commissioner that have sought to establish themselves as progressive, though, it is difficult to imagine them not taking a stand on this issue.
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