2017 NBA All-Star Game
|Date||February 19, 2017|
|Arena||Smoothie King Center|
|City||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Announcers||Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber|
|NBA All-Star Game|
The 2017 NBA All-Star Game is an exhibition basketball game that will be played on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Smoothie King Center. It will be the 66th edition of the event. It was initially planned to be held at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, home of the Charlotte Hornets. If the game had remained in Charlotte, it would have been the second time that Charlotte hosted the All-Star game; the city previously hosted in 1991 at the now-demolished Charlotte Coliseum.
On August 19, the NBA chose the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, home of the New Orleans Pelicans to host the All-Star game, after it was pulled out of Charlotte because of the controversy surrounding North Carolina's "bathroom bill", better known as HB2. The 2017 NBA All Star Game is the first major sporting event in the United States to be relocated for political reasons since 1990. In that instance, the National Football League (NFL) relocated Super Bowl XXVII out of Tempe, Arizona, because the state did not recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. TNT will nationally televise the game.
HB2 became law in late March 2016. It bans, among other things, NC city governments from passing ordinances that protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination. Charlotte already passed such an ordinance in February 2016. However, when HB2 went into effect, it terminated said ordinance. Charlotte, as a result, currently does not have any anti-discrimination protection in place. Talk about the NBA pulling the game from Charlotte began to rise.
Factors into this relocation threat was that out of all major professional sports leagues, the NBA reportedly has the largest LGBT fanbase. Another was that the NBA fanbase skewed much younger on average, and younger Americans are more supportive LGBT rights.
In the following days, Dallas and especially Atlanta both suggested they could host the All-Star Game if the NBA removed it. Atlanta made their public suggestion to the NBA less than a week after HB2 passed, mentioning it had vetoed a similar bill and had success with hosting other major events of a similar size. In response, however, the NBA stuck with Charlotte for the meantime. On April 5, NBA analyst and former player Charles Barkley voiced his support to move the All-Star Game. He joined other newspaper journalists, including journalists from The Guardian and The Washington Post, who advised the NBA to do the same when HB2 was first announced.
On April 10, a group of six US Senators wrote to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, telling him to move the game in response to HB2. Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy also spoke out in favor of moving the game. NBA team owners were expected to have an update on the situation at the annual NBA Board of Governors meetings. Two days later an Oakland city council member announced her intention for Oakland to host, again using HB2 as the primary reason for moving the game.
During the Board of Governors meetings, the NBA announced they did not have any plans to remove the game from Charlotte and did not vote to do so; however, Silver said HB2 remained a problem and, according to an official press release, was also concerned about Charlotte's capability to host the game because of HB2. Silver next spoke about the issue on April 21 at the Associated Press Sports Editors commissioner meetings and on ESPN's Mike and Mike morning radio show. During both appearances he stated the NBA would rather work with the state and city governments to help change the law instead of issuing a definitive statement. However, he also made clear the game would move if HB2 wasn't changed.
On June 2, Silver met with reporters to discuss the future of the All-Star Game, stating the league was "looking at alternatives"; however, he went on to say, "...it [would not be] productive to draw a line in the sand, and we'd be moving on if I didn't think there were constructive discussions going on in North Carolina right now." Six days later, Barkley again spoke out on the subject, merely repeating his earlier message that the game should be moved. On July 12, The Associated Press reported that several well-known technology companies had written a letter to Silver telling him to move the game, using HB2 as their main reason for doing so. Silver gave an update later that day during a league conference in Las Vegas, again saying no vote had been taken on whether to move the game. However, he did say, "...the calendar is not our friend." Silver also said the final decision on the game's location would be made by summer's end.
On July 21, The Vertical reported that the 2017 NBA All-Star Game would be pulled from Charlotte, a search for a new host city was underway, and New Orleans was the frontrunner to replace it. New Orleans previously hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and 2014. The same day, the NBA confirmed these rumors to be true with a press release, saying they hope to award Charlotte the game in 2019. On August 19, the NBA selected New Orleans as the new location to host the All-Star game.
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- 2017 All-Star Game at NBA.com