NBA commissioner says change in HB2 needed for All-Star Game to stay in Charlotte

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, to announce Charlotte as the site of the 2017 NBA All-Star basketball game. (Chuck Burton)

Commissioner Adam Silver believes the NBA has been "crystal clear" that the 2017 All-Star Game only stays in Charlotte if a North Carolina law goes.

Political and business leaders he's spoken with in the state believe it will, so he's holding off for now on setting any deadlines for when the NBA might act.

Silver said last week that the law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people was "problematic" for the league, but he believed dialogue was more useful than ultimatums at this point, so has continued discussions with North Carolina officials.

"The sense was that if the NBA could give us some time, they in the community of North Carolina were optimistic they would see a change in the law. They weren't guaranteeing it and I think which was why my response was the event still is 10 months from now, we don't need to make a decision yet," Silver said Thursday during a meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors.

"We've been, I think, crystal clear that we believe 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, but that we did have some time and that if the view of the people who were allied with us in terms of a change, if their view, the people on the ground in North Carolina, was that the situation would best be served by us not setting a deadline, we would not set a deadline at this time."

The North Carolina law directs transgender people to use public toilets corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate. The law also excludes LGBT people from state anti-discrimination protections, blocks local governments from expanding LGBT protections, and bars all types of workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts.

Several entertainment acts have already canceled plans for North Carolina but Silver said last week he didn't think a warning that the NBA could pull the All-Star weekend out would send the proper message, particularly because the league still has the Charlotte Hornets, owned by Michael Jordan, playing there. The Hornets host playoff games this weekend.

All-Star weekend is scheduled for February. Silver said there is no urgency to make a decision because the league could very easily find out which arenas would take on the event if necessary.

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