New Orleans is emerging as a frontrunner to host the 2017 NBA All-Star weekend, reported The Vertical on Thursday. The NBA has announced that the event will not be held in Charlotte.
Sources: NBA on brink of pulling 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, with New Orleans emerging as a front-runner to host Feb. 19 game.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 21, 2016
Charlotte lost the event in the wake of the passage of the highly controversial House Bill 2, which forces transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate.
In April, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors that “a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” but stopped short of setting a deadline on when a change was needed.
Not only would a turnaround of less than seven months be a challenge for local organizers, but the All-Star weekend – scheduled for Feb. 17-19 – conflicts with the first weekend of Mardi Gras.
Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President and CEO Jay Cicero released the following statement in response to the NBA decision and the potential for New Orleans to host the event:
“New Orleans has demonstrated time and again our ability to successfully host some of the largest and most visible sporting events and celebrations in the world, including the 2008 and 2014 NBA All-Star Games. We will do everything possible to assist the NBA, Mr. and Mrs. Benson and the New Orleans Pelicans in their efforts, if called upon.”
Meanwhile, the Pelicans organization expressed support for Silver’s decision through Twitter without addressing speculation the game could be headed to the Crescent City:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 21, 2016