The NBA has decided to hold its 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans, the league announced Friday. The marquee game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Smoothie King Center — home of the New Orleans Pelicans.
“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
New Orleans replaces Charlotte, which was set to host the game until the NBA decided last month it wouldn’t hold the event in North Carolina because of a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.
The NBA’s decision to hold the All-Star game in Louisiana will be a much-needed economic boost for the state, which has been subjected to disastrous flooding that’s killed at least 13 people and damaged approximately 40,000 homes.
“Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ rights organization, applauded the NBA’s decision.
“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 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.”