SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA plans to keep its next All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, despite its opposition to Utah’s ban on transgender youth athletes playing on girls teams.
The Utah Jazz are set to host the event next February but there was speculation the NBA could take it away because of what the team called “discriminatory legislation.”
But Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday the event will stay put as planned.
“There was no discussion over the past two days about moving the All-Star Game from Salt Lake City, and we do not anticipate moving the game,” Silver said.
The NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its opposition to a North Carolina law known as HB2 that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The game was played in New Orleans before the league returned to Charlotte in 2019.
Silver said the circumstances are different this time, adding that the league didn’t want to be in a position where it risked having to keep moving its events as similar laws were becoming more common. When Utah’s GOP lawmakers pushed through their ban last month, it joined 11 other states with similar legislation.
“In the case of HB2 in North Carolina, I think it was our collective view, we working with the Hornets, that we could have an impact on that legislation,” Silver said. “I think in the case of what’s happening in Utah right now, that bill is established.
“At least our initial view, working with the Utah Jazz, is that 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.”
Silver spoke after the league’s Board of Governors met in person over two days, which he said was the first time the full board did that in quite some time.