CHARLOTTE, NC (Rick Bonnell and Katherine Peralta) - The NBA and Charlotte have finalized a deal to bring the 2019 All-Star Weekend to the Queen City, the Observer has learned.
The three-day event will be held on a Friday through Sunday, Feb. 15-17, climaxing in Sunday night's All-Star Game. Most events, including the game and various skills competitions, will be held uptown at the Spectrum Center.
The NBA is expected to make an official announcement sometime Wednesday. Charlotte was originally awarded the 2017 All-Star Weekend, but the NBA rescinded that decision last summer in response to House Bill 2, the North Carolina law which the league and other organizations denounced as discriminatory against LGBT individuals.
Gov. Roy Cooper in March signed a compromise bill that repealed HB2 but banned local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for three years.
"All-Star weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world," Hornets owner Michael Jordan said in a statement Wednesday.
The NBA tentatively reserved the 2019 All-Star Weekend for Charlotte after moving the 2017 event. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last month that Charlotte was again eligible to host the event, but would have to demonstrate it can provide an inclusive atmosphere to visitors before receiving final approval.
Silver said in April that Charlotte would have to develop an anti-discrimination policy for event sites, hotels and businesses to be awarded the All-Star Weekend. The Hornets worked extensively, both with Charlotte leaders and state legislators in Raleigh, to replace HB2 and to work out details of this anti-discrimination plan.
Jordan supported the NBA's decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, but lobbied other owners for the city to get the 2019 event, should circumstances change to the league's satisfaction.
The 2018 All-Star Weekend is scheduled for Los Angeles.
The All-Star Weekend annually brings together the NBA's top players, along with competition for rising stars in their first and second pro seasons. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker made his first All-Star appearance this year in New Orleans and forward Frank Kaminsky played in the rising stars game.
Former Davidson star Stephen Curry, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, is likely among the top players who would be selected for the 2019 event here.
Silver repeatedly proclaimed the NBA's opposition to HB2, the controversial measure that limited legal protections for LGBT individuals. The law also required transgender people in government-run buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
HB2 cost Charlotte tens of millions in lost revenue. Along with the All-Star Game, the bill cost the city hundreds of jobs from PayPal, which withdrew plans for an operations center here, several musical performances and the ACC football championship game.