The NBA announced that it will hold the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., after this year’s festivities were relocated away from the city. In July 2016, concerns over North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 — the “bathroom bill,” which restricted transgender individuals from using public restrooms corresponding to their gender identity — compelled the league to move the game out of the state.
In doing so, the league sent a strong message that it would not tolerate such discrimination, and would not allow the state to profit by hosting All-Star Weekend — projections indicate an economic impact of more than $100 million — until the law is changed.
“We’ve been assured if the HB2 situation is resolved, we’ll be hosting” All-Star Weekend, Hornets President Fred Whitfield told the Charlotte Observer in the wake of the NBA’s decision in 2016.
That time has now come.
Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA stayed true to their promise, and on Wednesday Silver officially awarded the 2019 All-Star Weekend — scheduled for Feb. 15-17 at the Spectrum Center, home of the Hornets — to Charlotte. The 68th NBA All-Star Game will be the largest sporting event to occur in the Queen City, and the largest event of any kind since the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
"Sports have a long history of helping to change attitudes around important social issues,” Silver said in a statement. “We believe holding our All-Star activities in Charlotte will be a powerful way for the NBA to continue this tradition."
Charlotte has only hosted the All-Star Game once, back in 1991 at the the now-demolished Charlotte Coliseum. The Eastern Conference All-Stars won the game 116-114, with Charles Barkley scoring 17 points and pulling down 22 rebounds en route to being named All-Star Game MVP.