NBA bringing All-Star Game back to Charlotte in 2019

The NBAs showcase event was originally scheduled to have been played in Charlotte last February, but was moved to New Orleans in response to North Carolinas now-repealed H.B. 2

Two years after it was originally scheduled to be played in Charlotte and more than a year after it was taken away in the fallout over the now-repealed House Bill 2, the NBA All-Star Game is coming back to North Carolina. League commissioner Adam Silver announced Wednesday that the 2019 game would be played at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center on Feb. 17, 2019. The date is especially significant since it falls on the 56th birday of Charlotte Hornets team owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan.. “For three decades, the NBA has had a home in Charlotte,” Silver said in a statement. “Generations of families have attended games there and fans from many different walks of life have come together to share a passion for a team that is an anchor in the community. “We have decided to award NBA All-Star 2019 to Charlotte based on this deep connection and the belief that we can honor our shared values of equality and inclusion, and we are excited to bring the All-Star Game back to Charlotte for the first time in 28 years.” The NBA’s showcase event was slated to have been played in Charlotte last February, But instead of getting the opportunity to show itself off to a national audience, North Carolina and the Queen City ended up with the opposite kind of publicity when the league decided to move the game to New Orleans in protest of the state’s controversial “bathroom bill.” The law, which was passed in response to a local Charlotte ordinance that prevented facilities open to the public from differentiating any bathrooms or locker room facilities by sex, limited the authority of local governments to impose anti-discrimination laws on private businesses. H.B. 2 was repealed on March 30, just before an NCAA deadline for awarding its future championships was reached. Critics of the law, however, had said that the repeal didn’t go far enough. It’s a subject the NBA’s Silver addressed in his statement announcing the Charlotte as the 2019 All-Star Game host. “While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of H.B.2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law,” Silver said. “Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies. All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well. “Sports have a long history of helping to change attitudes around important social issues. We believe holding our All-Star activities in Charlotte will be a powerful way for the NBA to continue this tradition.” Jordan, a 14-time All-Star and three-time All-Star Game MVP, issued a statement expressing his excitement over the NBA’s decision to give his team another shot at hosting the game. “We are thrilled the league has awarded NBA All-Star 2019 to the city of Charlotte,” Jordan said. “We want to thank Commissioner Silver for his leadership throughout this process and for the decision to bring NBA All-Star back to Buzz City. All-Star Weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world.”