Charlotte just lost millions in tourism and entertainment dollars after the National Basketball Association announced Thursday the group is pulling next year’s All-Star Game from the city.
The NBA had warned North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory that the city might lose hosting the game if the state did not make changes to HB2, the notorious anti-transgender law that prevents transgender people from using restrooms and changing facilities matching their gender identity.
“The NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change,” the NBA said in a statement. “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”
McCrory released a statement following the decision warning North Carolinians that “the sports and entertainment elite,” among others, “are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”
The state legislature adjourned this year without making any significant changes to the law, which has prompted boycotts and protests from politicians and entertainers alike. Neither the NBA nor the governor’s office commented on whether a special legislative session would affect the decision.
Likely, the time has passed for the NBA to reverse the decision considering the planning and logistics needed to organize the game.
In the statement, the NBA expressed hope of rescheduling the Charlotte match to 2019—giving the state more time to consider changing the law.
“I am encouraged that Charlotte has the opportunity to hose the game in 2019 if changes to HB2 are made,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts in a statement, “and I encourage the state to action as soon as possible.”