NBA: Silver warns anti-gay law could force All-Star Game move
OAKLAND, USA—NBA officials are looking at moving next year’s All-Star Game from Charlotte in the wake of a North Carolina law stripping discrimination protections from the gay and transgender community.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking just before the opening game of the NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland, said Thursday that alternate sites are being studied and a decision is needed by September.
“We are looking at alternatives,” Silver said. “We are in the process of looking at other options. At the same time, we would be moving on if I didn’t think there were constructive discussions going on.
“I don’t see we would get past this summer without knowing definitively where we stand.”
Silver said he met last month with business leaders working behind the scenes with city and state officials for a compromise due to what he called “enormous economic damage.”
“One of the core underlying principles of this league is diversity and inclusion. Where we choose to celebrate an All-Star Game, those values should be honored,” Silver said.
“We as a league want to make sure there’s an environment where the LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) community feels protected down in North Carolina. If we can work with the community to ensure those basic protections are given… we will see you all in Charlotte next February.”
Silver had high marks for the NBA but says he doesn’t want rule changes to dampen the excitement from a rise in 3-pointers, even as he admits it might be time to consider adding a fourth referee for games.
“It has been an incredible season,” Silver said. “It’s a fantastic time to be an NBA fan. It just seems like the game is being reinvented. It seems like both (Finals) teams are transforming the game.”
Golden State set a season record for 3-pointers by a team on the way to an NBA record 73 wins, with repeat NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry breaking his own record with 402 3-pointers to win the scoring title.
“Steph, together with Klay (Thompson), they have overcome a psychological barrier for a lot of players who just never thought the kind of shots they would make were possible,” Silver said.
“When you see Steph that far behind the 3-point line, where on a regular basis he’s making 30-footers and requiring defenses to cover him in ways they aren’t used to covering players, it changes the whole dynamic of our game. It’s just incredibly exciting.”
As a result, Silver sees no chance of a rule change such as moving back the 3-point arc to try and reduce the long shots.
“I don’t think any change is necessary right now,” Silver said. “It may be what Steph is demonstrating is he’s so good that no one else can touch him.”
But Silver admitted the faster-paced style might require more eyes to catch fouls.
“Maybe the game is so fundamentally different now that we maybe do need to look at a fourth official,” Silver said.
The rules committee will examine leg kicks trying to draw contact and foul calls, such as when Golden State’s Draymond Green struck Oklahoma City big man Steven Adams of New Zealand in the crotch, and Silver would like a reduction in fouls away from the ball to put a poor free throw shooter at the line as a defensive ploy.
“It’s my hope that we are not far away from some reform,” Silver said.