NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The National Basketball Association has picked New Orleans to host the 2017 All-Star Game, the league announced today.
The decision comes after the NBA announced in July that it was moving the game from Charlotte, N.C. to protest the North Carolina legislature's refusal to repeal HB2, a controversial bill that prevents transgendered people from using government-run bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, rather than their gender by birth.
Unlike several other Southern states, Louisiana has not been swept up in legislative efforts to pass laws similar to that in North Carolina - a fact Gov. John Bel Edwards has touted while lobbying the NBA to bring its All-Star weekend to New Orleans for a third time.
The All-Star Game is scheduled for Feb. 19, which falls during the first weekend of Mardi Gras parades.
The Human Rights campaign, the largest civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) citizens.
"By moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have sent a clear message to lawmakers in North Carolina and across the country that discrimination against LGBTQ people has consequences and will not be tolerated," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a prepared statement.
"New Orleans' explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections will ensure all NBA employees, players, and fans who participate in the All-Star Game are protected from discrimination, the statement continued.
The HRC suggested that North Carolina use this as an incentive to repeal the widely-disliked law.
New Orleans last hosted NBA All-Star in 2014, when the Eastern Conference overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 163-155 victory, snapping a three-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and handed out a game-high 14 assists on his way to capturing MVP honors. Carmelo Anthony added 30 points for the East, while Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each finished with 38 points for the West.
The 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans marked the city's first major sporting event since Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the East's 134-128 victory and LeBron James' MVP performance, more than 2,500 members of the NBA family participated in 10 local service projects across New Orleans as part of the inaugural NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, now an annual tradition and a highlight of the league's All-Star festivities.