Why The NBA Is Pulling Its All-Star Game Out of North Carolina

July 22, 2016, 2:50 AM UTC
NBA All-Star Bryant of the Lakers and All-Star James of the Heat share a laugh during the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston
NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (L) and All-Star LeBron James of the Miami Heat share a laugh during the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston, Texas, February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL) - RTR3DXUC
Photo by Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

The NBA has, after months of deliberation, decided to move the 2017 NBA All-Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C. The new venue will be announced in a few weeks.

The decision was made in reaction to North Carolina’s controversial HB2 “bathroom law,” which dictates that people use the public bathrooms and locker rooms designated for the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The law was then slammed as discriminatory against LGBT people, by groups as diverse as Human Rights Watch, Apple (AAPL), IBM (IBM), Salesforce (CRM), and the Bank of America (BAC), as well as several in-state universities.

Former NBA star Charles Barkley and celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, who cancelled an event in the state., also weighed in against it..

Proponents say the law protects children from predators..

In April, about a month after the legislation passed, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the game would be played in Charlotte as planned.

See also: NBA Commish Says All-Star Game Will Stay in North Carolina For Now

But then, something changed.

According to an NBA statement posted Thursday night:

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.

This is quite a blow to Charlotte. The All-Star game brings with it a week of activities and tens of thousands of free-spending fans. Ironically, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the legislation after a rushed legislative session in March, was formerly mayor of Charlotte.

See also: Bank of America Blasts North Carolina’s Bathroom Law

The NBA left the door open for the game to come to Charlotte in 2019, although no promises were made.

For more on the HB2 bathroom law watch this video:

And, as The Charlotte Observer pointed out, there could be further ramifications down the road. The NCAA just adopted anti-discrimination rules for venues bidding to host its events. And, as luck would have it, the NCAA has slated men’s tournament games to take place in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018.