NBA commissioner Adam Silver is considering moving the league’s marquee All-Star Game out of North Carolina if the state doesn’t stand down from its controversial bathroom bill.
Under pressure to join a list of organizations and artistes who are taking action over the passing of its HB2 law, Silver said he had spoken to government and politicians in the state about repealing the bill.
“We’ve been working very closely with the business community down there and the governor and the legislature to make it clear that it would be problematic for us to move forward with our All-Star Game if there is not a change in the law,” Silver told ESPN on Thursday.
House Bill 2 is widely viewed as discriminatory because it nullified expanded state protections for the LGBT community and mandated transgender people use the bathrooms of their biological sex.
In tandem with that, many were hoping the NBA would protest the law by moving the All-Star Game scheduled for Feb. 17 next year at the Time Warner Cable Arena, also the home of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. According to the Charlotte Observer, the game and its festivities could bring in around $100 million to the local economy.
The issue is complicated, however, by the presence of a basketball team in the state, and Silver admitted that it was hard to issue a threat to pull out the All-Star Game while an NBA franchise was competing in a playoff game, as the Hornets are currently.
“I’m really not seeing the distinction, which is why this is a much bigger issue,” he said. “I’m only saying that whatever we do, we have to keep an eye on the fact that we have one of our 30 franchises operating in that state. We have a much bigger issue in North Carolina than the All-Star Game: It’s the ongoing operation of our team.