It is a new work week for National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver, although in theory Silver never has a day off during the season, but there will be people looking for a Silver statement on what to do about the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was no problem until last week but North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a discriminatory gender-related bill into law. HB 2 overturns a Charlotte law that bans discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexual men, bisexual women and transgender people. To use a bathroom in a school one now has to use the restroom that corresponds to a person’s birth certificate. Not only did HB 2 stop the Charlotte law but it also effective bars other North Carolina local governments from enacting similar legislation. The bill has drawn criticism from the NBA and the league has suggested it might have to review plans for the All-Star Game.
The All-Star Game means little, it’s an entertainment show, but the All-Star weekend is a corporate bazaar and that could be a major problem for North Carolina lawmakers who decided HB 2 is what is best for North Carolina residents. What might be best for lawmakers isn’t necessarily best for the state’s economy. The NBA is made up of an office and 30 owners who are diversified and may decide doing business in North Carolina isn’t good for them. The NBA also has national sponsors that might not want to partner with them during the All Star weekend and also drop marketing partnerships with the Charlotte Hornets. The NCAA might decide to take college champions out of North Carolina. If North Carolina lawmakers don’t believe that, they can look across the state line to South Carolina which did not have any NCAA championship games while the Confederate flag flew at the state capitol. The NBA and NCAA could start applying pressure to overturn the law this week.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.