The NBA says it expects to award the 2019 All-Star Game to Charlotte, North Carolina, after the partial repeal of the so-called bathroom bill.
But Commissioner Adam Silver says it’s not a done deal and the state has to meet the NBA’s anti-discrimination requirements.
Silver made the announcement Friday after a league meeting. He said returning to North Carolina is a “powerful way to display our values of equality and inclusion.”
He said the NBA plans to develop an anti-discrimination policy and will ask its partners to meet those standards. Silver didn’t give details of the policy.
“By engaging more deeply in North Carolina we can be part of a national effort to secure more LGBT rights in North Carolina,” Silver said.
The law required people to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate, not their gender identity, in government buildings and in public schools and universities. It also prevented local governments from passing nondiscrimination policies based on gender identity.
The league gave the 2017 All-Star Game to Charlotte, then moved it to New Orleans after the law was passed.
North Carolina lawmakers voted in March to repeal the law and eliminated the bathroom stipulation. The replacement also allows cities to enact their own nondiscrimination ordinances, but not until 2020. LGBT groups say it’s unacceptable that people will have to wait for protection.
Silver, who was a vocal opponent of the law, said the NBA can be a “force for change.”
“I’m proud of the league’s stance and announcing that we weren’t going to play under those circumstances and I’m also proud that we’re going back,” he said.
The NBA’s announcement comes after the NCAA lifted its own boycott of North Carolina. The NCAA had pulled tournaments from the state but said Tuesday it would consider it as a venue for future championships.