SALT LAKE CITY — Speaking at the NBA Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, league commissioner Adam Silver said he does not anticipate moving next year’s All-Star Game from Salt Lake City even after Utah legislators voted to override a governor veto on a bill that restricts transgender students from participating in school sports.
Many in Utah feared the NBA would pull the game after having removed the same event from Charlotte in 2017 following a law passed requiring transgender people use restrooms in the state that matched the sex on their birth certificates.
However, Silver said there has been no discussion among league leaders about moving the game and doesn’t believe it would do any good anyway.
“Our view, today, is that making threats that we’re going to move the All-Star Game would not be constructive,” said Silver.
Utah is one of several states that have either passed laws restricting transgender athletes or are currently proposing similar legislation.
“I’m watching these bills throughout the country and in those states where we have teams that are operating, we’re working with directly with those teams,” said Silver. “In this case, Ryan Smith, the principal governor of the team, and the Utah Jazz have come out against that legislation.
When asked why the league would move the game from Charlotte and not Salt Lake City, Silver responded that unlike North Carolina, positions will be more difficult to change in Utah.
“We’re going to have to find a way to work in that environment and create an inclusive environment for our game, rather than take the position that we have, somehow, an independent ability to change the minds of the voters of Utah in this,” said Silver.
Silver believes the game can still take place in Salt Lake City despite the law that was passed on March 25.
“We find that in our conversations with Ryan that we can create an inclusive environment for our All-Star Game in Salt Lake City that will be welcoming for all our guests and for the diverse community in Utah as well.”
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena is scheduled for Feb. 19.
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