NBA Pulling All-Star Game from Charlotte Over HB2

The National Basketball Association is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

The Vertical was first to report the news Thursday afternoon.

The NBA confirmed the reports in a statement released Thursday evening.

The NBA has been threatening to move the All-Star festivities for months. HB2 was passed in a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly in late March of this year. The law requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. The special session was called in late March after Charlotte voted to extend the city’s nondiscrimination policy to members of the LGBT community.

HB2 also barred localities across the state from passing nondiscrimination policies that extend beyond the state policy. The bill also prohibited residents from suing in state court over discrimination. That provision was changed during the General Assembly’s short legislative session but no other changes were made to the legislation.

The NBA statement read in part:

“Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community — current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”

The Hornets also issued a statement following the decision by the NBA, saying in part:

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.”

Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement following the NBA’s decision to pull the All-Star Game.

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”

McCrory went on to say, “Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal filed a motion for a preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of HB2 in federal court. That motion will be heard in federal court on August 1. The United States Department of Justice is also locked in a legal battle with the state of North Carolina over the legislation. The lawsuits argue HB2 violates Title IX of the Education Amendments, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

North Carolina is also one of nearly two dozen states suing after President Barack Obama issued a directive earlier this year to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

The NBA did leave open the option of returning the All-Star weekend to Charlotte in 2019. The NCAA Tournament is set to host early-round tournament games in North Carolina over the next two years, but those could be in jeopardy of moving as well due to HB2.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/report-nba-pulling-all-star-game-from-charlotte-over-hb2

Danny Green Pays Tribute to Retiring Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan announced his retirement from the NBA after 19 seasons on Monday.  After four years at Wake Forest, the San Antonio Spurs selected him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.  He spent all of his 19 seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, won five NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVP Awards, 2 NBA MVP Awards, and 15 All-Star teams.

For the past five years, former Tar Heel Danny Green was his teammate.

Green is 11 years younger than Duncan and he grew up idolizing his future teammate.  In a Monday night Facebook post, we learned just how important Duncan is to Green.

Green writes:

“I’ve been waiting all day for someone tell me it was a joke or a lie….I feel like one of the luckiest guys of my generation to be able to share the court with you for 5 years…you were and still are one my biggest idols since I was in middle school…I will forever cherish these moments and the countless times you’ve been the guy to encourage me and lift me up with confidence as if the roles were reversed…you truly are the greatest most humble teammate and person I’ve ever come across…I can go on for days about how much you’ve taught me, you are the ultimate professional and the reason why the spurs organization has been the best in sports for 20yrs…the league/game won’t be the same without you, you will be truly missed…and I will miss you the most, because you were also the guy to have my back when pop cussed me out lol…and a final note, I would like to call…Dibs! On your parking space, seat on the plane, locker, everything! Lol I’m lucky to be able to call you family, much love tiny Tim‪#‎Thebigfundamental‬ #21 ‪#‎GPFOAT‬ ‪#‎Legend‬

The Spurs won the NBA Championship in 2014.  It was Duncan’s fifth and final title.  It was the first for Green.

UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams also shared his thoughts on Duncan.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/danny-green-pays-tribute-to-retiring-tim-duncan

US Department of Justice Asks Federal Court to Bar Implementation of HB2

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex by requiring transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity and should therefore not be implemented across the state.

That was the argument put forward by the United States Department of Justice in a court filing on Tuesday asking the United States District Court in North Carolina’s Middle District to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the law from being implemented.

United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch called HB2 “state-sponsored discrimination” when announcing that the DOJ was suing the state over the legislation in May.

Proponents of the “bathroom bill” have continued to say the law is only intended to protect women and children across the state and have called the bill “common sense” legislation.

The initial bill went beyond the bathroom provision and barred localities across the state from implementing anti-discrimination policies that went beyond the state language. The bill also stopped residents from being able to sue in state court over employment discrimination, instead it would have forced them to the federal court system.

After months of pressure, including from Governor Pat McCrory, that portion of the bill was changed at the last minute of the short legislative session that wrapped up just before the July 4 holiday weekend. The new piece of legislation does not fully restore worker’s rights in North Carolina. Under the previous law, workers had three years to file a claim; that range has now been brought down to one year.

No other portions of HB2 were altered during the session. That could cost the state the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, among the other business investments that have withdrawn from the state over the bill.

The UNC System has maintained that it is caught between complying with state and federal law in this matter and System President Margaret Spellings has said the system campuses will not enforce the law.

There is no timeline for a decision regarding Tuesday’s motion to stop the law from being implemented and enforced statewide.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/us-department-of-justice-asks-federal-court-to-bar-implementation-of-hb2

Chansky’s Notebook: Recalling the ‘CP3 Trade’

Could the NBA have vetoed the Kevin Durant move?

Since Durant said he was going to Golden State, creating the specter of a super power for years to come, I wonder if the NBA could have blocked that free-agent signing, the way it stopped the proposed trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers in 2011.

In that decision, then-commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade of Paul from the lowly New Orleans Hornets to the perennial NBA power Lakers for reasons Stern said would plunder the New Orleans franchise, which has since been renamed the Pelicans, and stack the Lakers for another dynastic run.

The nixed deal, coming immediately after a five-month lockout that delayed the start of the 2011-12 season, directly affected at least half the league like a giant spider web, even though Paul was eventually traded to the Clippers. To this day, it remains a polarizing debate centered on competitive balance, protecting small-market teams, superstars’ power and free will, and whether the league overstepped its boundaries even if it had the right to do so.

The trade was a three-way deal moving a half-dozen players, and Stern believed it would not help the other two franchises involved and unfairly tilt the balance in the Western Conference toward the Lakers if Paul, nicknamed CP3, was allowed to move. Stern was acting as de facto owner of the old Hornets, who had been purchased away from George Shinn by the NBA.

Free agency now allows players to move around for so-called max contracts, with Durant being the big prize. But the premise still exists when you consider the overwhelming favorite Golden State now is in the West over small-market Oklahoma City and the aging San Antonio Spurs.

Could new commissioner Adam Silver, the Dukie who as an NBA deputy was involved in the CP3 decision, have stepped in and said the signing was bad for the competitive balance in the NBA? Apparently not, but four years later the last-place Lakers and the rest of the league still wonder if Stern had the right to do what he did.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-recalling-the-cp3-trade

Chansky’s Notebook: Barnes’ Brand Gets Big Boost

Harrison Barnes comes out smelling like a rose.

When Harrison Barnes left UNC after his sophomore year, he was not unhappy with being a Tar Heel. To the contrary, his two seasons in Chapel Hill gave him the high profile that he said he needed to begin building his personal brand, which is that of a great player, great teammate and non-controversial.

He won an NBA championship in Golden State and came inches within winning another; he was First Team All-Rookie NBA and when he was moved to sixth man his second season he quietly became one of the best subs off the bench. And in 2016, he topped that by averaging just under 12 points and five rebounds as the team’s fourth or fifth scoring option. But Barnes was destined to play in the shadow of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Now that Kevin Durant has signed with the Warriors, called by critics one of the weakest moves a super star has ever made, Barnes will move to Dallas where the Mavericks will sign him to a max contract of $95 million over four years and where Barnes can emerge from fourth or fifth banana to one of the stars in the league. It’s the best thing Barnes could have done for his personal wealth and his brand, as Golden State cannot match the max offer from the Mavericks since it has to clear cap space for Durant.

Staying with the Warriors might have given Barnes more rings but where and how much would he play with Durant now starting at small forward? So he is moving to Dallas, which will rebuild around Barnes; who already has his championship and can now concentrate on being a more consistent player and striving to become an NBA all-star.

Just as Barnes had a plan at UNC, I imagine he watched the Durant sweepstakes closely and put himself in position to get max money from another team. Dallas came calling and signed the offer sheet. The Warriors could not sign any more big contracts if they were to land Durant, who makes his new team, on paper, the odds-on favorite to win the 2017 NBA title.

That is why Durant is being criticized. He is considered one of the three best players in the world on a team that led Golden State 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Instead of staying and trying to get his team over the hump, he went to the rival that he could not beat. That’s much different than leaving a bad team for a contender. Some are calling it cowardice.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-barnes-brand-gets-big-boost

No Changes Imminent for HB2

***UPDATE: The General Assembly passed a measure on Friday night to restore the right to sue in state court for discrimination. Prior to HB2, workers had three years to file a discrimination lawsuit in state court. Under the new provision, that time limit would be one year.***

It now appears as though no adjustments will be made to North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 before the General Assembly wraps up the short legislative session ahead of the July 4 holiday.

Meetings were held this week between the governor and members of each side of the political aisle after Charlotte TV station WBTV first reported draft revisions to HB2 were being discussed.

Advocates said the provisions were not a real fix for the legislation that requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that matches their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the legislation in late March the same day the bill was introduced and pass through the General Assembly in a special session. McCrory called for changes to the portion of the bill that took away the right to sue for discrimination in state court, but it now appears even that provision will remain untouched.

The bill has caused some companies to rethink or completely back out of expansions in North Carolina.

But what has drawn the most attention is the possibility that the National Basketball Association may move the 2017 All-Star Game from the Tar Heel state.

The All-Star Game and the associated festivities are – as of right now – slated to take place in Charlotte in February 2017. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been a vocal opponent of HB2 since it was signed into law and said that adjustments would need to be made for the game to be played in North Carolina.

While potential changes were being discussed, the NBA and Charlotte Hornets issued a joint statement saying the alterations would not go far enough to win the backing of the league.

“We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature. We remain committed to our guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all. We continue to believe that constructive engagement with all sides is the right path forward. There has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.”

Silver previously said that the NBA would need to see substantive changes made to HB2 by the end of the summer to proceed with the game in Charlotte. NBA Analyst Charles Barkley said that he would consider boycotting the game if it were to be held in the Queen City.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/no-changes-imminent-for-hb2

Marcus Paige Applies for the NBA

NBA teams will be adding new employees on June 23.  One of those employees could be Marcus Paige.

In an article for the Players’ Tribune, a website founded by Derek Jeter that features posts written by professional athletes, the former UNC guard shared his “application” to the NBA.

In the application, Paige shared the basic information that any fan of the Tar Heels would know.  He’s applying for a position at point guard.  His college is the University of North Carolina.  He would like to play with his UNC teammate Brice Johnson.

Marcus Paige

Marcus Paige. (Photo by Todd Melet)

The application also asks Paige to judge his skill set.  He was given 20 points to allocate to 6 skill categories.  Ten of those points went to shooting and handling.

We also see Marcus’ choices for his three best shots on the floor.  They are the free-throw line, a three-pointer from the top of key, and of course reference to his spectacular double-clutch three-pointer that tied the national championship game.

Read the full application.

Marcus Paige will work out with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, according to the multiple sources.  Paige is expected to either be selected in the second round of the NBA Draft or sign with a team as a free agent.

Multiple NBA Draft experts project Brice Johnson to be selected in the first round.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/marcus-paige-applies-for-the-nba

Chansky’s Notebook: Vinsanity of Teammates

What if Vince Carter had gone to Florida State?

Long-time Carolina fans must be proud of Vince Carter, the mega-talented Florida high school star who chose UNC over FSU and a dozen other schools way back in 1995. Carter came to Chapel Hill as a great athlete who did not know much about playing basketball the way Dean Smith wanted him to play it. He lost his starting position late his freshman season and rumors swirled that he was transferring.

Smith was a master of tough love, and he stayed on Carter to play harder, play smarter and be a better teammate. Two decades later after an 18-year NBA career, Carter has become the exemplary pro and role model who was voted by his peers as the best teammate and winner of the annual Twyman-Stokes Award.

The award recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team. More than 300 NBA players submitted their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office. The 12 nominees were chosen by a panel of NBA legends as well as executives from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

Carter won in a romp, getting the most first-, second- and third-place votes to total 1448 points over other deserving candidates Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. But those who have followed Carter’s career are not surprised. He turned pro as a junior at UNC after helping the team to back-to-back Final Fours and was the fifth pick in the 1998 NBA draft. His teammate Antawn Jamison went No. 4 in the same draft. Carter left Chapel Hill but stayed close to the athletic program.

If you travel the walkway between the Smith Center and Koury Natatorium, you see plagues that name every single Tar Heel varsity basketball player in history. It was part of the multi-million-dollar renovation of the Smith Center, and it was donated by Vince Carter, the eight-time NBA All-star and twice All-NBA selection. Once a me-first athlete, he has become the ultimate teammate who is now honored for that as much as his high-flying dunks nicknamed Vinsanity in the 2000 NBA dunk contest.

Vince Carter has come a long way, and not all of it was through the air.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-vinsanity-of-teammates

NBA Awaiting Changes to HB2 Before Final Decision on Charlotte All-Star Game

Adam Silver has steadfastly refused to set any deadlines for when the NBA would decide on moving the 2017 All-Game in Charlotte if a hotly debated North Carolina law hasn’t been changed.

In a way, he did before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, even as he said he’s been pleased by the direction of the discussions.

Silver said the NBA would need to see definitive progress toward changing the law by the end of Summer to ensure that All-Star weekend remains in Charlotte.

“I don’t see how we would get past this summer without knowing definitively where we stand,” the NBA commissioner said before the Golden State Warriors hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The law excludes lesbian, gay and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections. It also blocks local governments from expanding LGBT protections, and bars all types of workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts. The law also directs transgender people to use public toilets corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Several entertainers have already canceled scheduled appearances in North Carolina because of the law. But Silver said he thinks there have been productive talks about changing it that leave him optimistic the NBA will not have to take a similar approach with its February showcase.

“I think both sides of the issue recognize, however heartfelt their views are, that the current state of being is causing enormous economic damage to the state,” Silver said. “I think they realize that we very much would like to play next year’s All-Star Game in North Carolina, as I’ve said before.”

Silver said he believed that the portion of the law involving bathroom use has overshadowed what, for the league, is the bigger issue of inclusion and diversity. Silver called those “core principles” on which the NBA was founded.

“I think there are other fundamental issues that I think if we can work through with the community to ensure those basic protections are given to the LGBT community,” Silver said. “I think if we can make progress there, we will see you all in Charlotte next February.”

Silver discussed an array of issues in his annual pre-finals media session, including Warriors forward Draymond Green’s propensity for kicking his legs out during drives to the basket, the performance of the officials during a postseason filled with disputed calls, and ongoing discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement.

-Jon Krawczynski, AP Basketball Writer

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/nba-awaiting-changes-to-hb2-before-final-decision-on-charlotte-all-star-game

NBA Commissioner: All-Star Game Could Still be Moved from Charlotte

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game could still be moved from Charlotte if North Carolina’s House Bill 2 remains unchanged.

The news comes from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments at an Associated Press Sports Editors’ meeting on Thursday, according to attendees.

The AP’s Brian Mahoney quoted Silver saying he believes the NBA has been “crystal clear” regarding the professional basketball league’s stance on the controversial legislation.

Mahoney quoted Silver saying:

“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear that we believe a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event, but that we did have some time and that if the view of the people who were allied with us in terms of a change, if their view, the people on the ground in North Carolina, was that the situation would best be served by us not setting a deadline, we would not set a deadline at this time.”

The game and the associated festivities from All-Star weekend are scheduled to take place in Charlotte in February 2017.

In the wake of House Bill 2, PayPal announced the company would not move forward with a planned expansion in Charlotte. Deutsche Bank also announced it was freezing plans to create 250 new jobs in Cary.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nba-commissioner-all-star-game-could-still-be-moved-from-charlotte