NBA to Atlanta: we’re 'hopeful' North Carolina will work out

A National Basketball Association spokesman issued a statement Thursday, thanking Atlanta for its offer to host the 2017 All-Star game and festivities, but saying the league is “hopeful” the situation in North Carolina will work out.

Atlanta City Council members Tuesday introduced a resolution urging the NBA to consider moving its 2017 game and weekend of festivities to Atlanta from Charlotte, N.C., which had its local anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gays and trans-gender people overturned by the state legislature.

The city council resolution came one day after Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed Georgia’s version of the “religious liberty” bill.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass wrote in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “We appreciate the invitation but are hopeful that the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina can work through their differences far in advance of the 2017 All-Star Game.”

Bloomberg reported that the 2015 all-star weekend in New York generated $195 million in economic activity.

The 2017 NBA All-Star weekend is scheduled for Feb. 17-19 in Charlotte, N.C., which made headlines last week when North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill voiding Charlotte’s anti-discrimination law protecting gay and transgender people. It establishes statewide protections against discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin and biological sex — but not sexual orientation or gender identity.

The state law supersedes any local ordinance, meaning no city in the state can pass such a law.

Councilman Andre Dickens, one of the sponsors of the Atlanta resolution, said the council “respects” the NBA’s comment.

“We respect the NBA’s actions to continue to try and work through the differences between Charlotte and the state of North Carolina,” Dickens said. “(But) We stand on the ready to support them in Atlanta if they choose us as a backup option.”

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