The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be held in New Orleans in February, the league said today, after yanking if from Charlotte, North Carolina, when the state’s government refused to repeal a controversial law that has been criticized as discriminatory to transgender people.
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State lawmakers passed HB2, as the law is commonly called, in a special session in March, after its creation in response to a law passed in Charlotte intended to protect people from discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.
In effect, the controversial state law prohibits most transgender people from using bathrooms in schools and government buildings that do not corresponded to the gender on their birth certificate, and bars cities in the state from enacting their own protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“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,” the NBA said in July when it announced plans to pull the All-Star Game from Charlotte.
In response, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in July that, “American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”
On Friday, after the New Orleans announcement, McCrory's communications director Josh Ellis said, "[NBA Commissioner Adam Silver] has no credibility in telling America that he's more 'comfortable' playing a basketball game in the People's Republic of China with its oppressive human rights record, rather than the 9th most populous state in the U.S.A.," referring to upcoming games in China.
"This is another classic example of politically-correct hypocrisy gone made," he said.
The NBA said at the time that it hoped to bring the game back to Charlotte in 2019, if the law described by many as “anti-LGBT” is changed.
The move to New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center will mark the city’s third time hosting the game.
It will also be held as Louisiana recovers from recent flooding that has left at least 13 people dead.
“Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement released by the NBA announcing the move. “While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway.”
The league did not say any more about the North Carolina law in today’s statement announcing the move.
ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, Tom Liddy and David Caplan contributed to this report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.