The NBA has chosen New Orleans to replace Charlotte for the 2017 All-Star Game, the league announced Friday.The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans.The NBA last month pulled the 2017 marquee midseason event out of Charlotte in response to the league’s objection to North Carolina House Bill 2, a state law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates.NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened for months to move the All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless the law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed.In addition to the All-Star Game, the Smoothie King Center will host the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and All-Star Night on Saturday, Feb. 18, while the All-Star practice, celebrity game and NBA Development League All-Star Game will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.”New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” Silver said in a statement. “We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”This will mark the third time New Orleans has been the site of the league’s All-Star celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.”We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans,” Pelicans owner Tom Benson said. “We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans.”In the wake of the devastating floods that have affected thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have joined the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.”Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” Edwards said. “In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can’t get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible.”The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage.
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