Charles Barkley believes the NBA needs to help put a end to North Carolina's House Bill 2 — even if it means taking the All-Star Game with it.
The former basketball player and current analyst for Inside the NBA appeared on The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, where Barkley reiterated his belief that the game should be moved from Charlotte, where it is set to be held next at the city’s Allstate Arena next February.
“I told my boss, I don’t want to act like I’m jumping on a sword,” Barkley said, “but I’ve talked to Adam Silver, we need to move the All-Star Game."
“I hope they don’t put me in a situation where I have to boycott the All-Star Game,” he added.
The former Houston Rockets player has previously expressed his opposition to House Bill 2, the controversial North Carolina law that forces transgender people to use public restrooms, in government buildings, that do not correspond with their gender identity. The legislation was passed, introduced, and signed into law in an “emergency session” of the state’s Congress on March 23.
“As a black person, I’m against any form of discrimination,” Barkley told CNN in April. “Against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it. … We can figure out [where to play instead]. I know Atlanta wants to host it.”
Doing so would have a huge economic impact on North Carolina. The NBA All-Star Weekend is projected to bring in $100 million in revenue at a time when the Tar Heel State remains plagued by boycotts. Since the bill’s passage, over 160 companies have condemned HB 2, while PayPal and Deutsche Bank cancelled planned expansions in the state.
North Carolina could lose up to $5 billion in revenue every year the bill isn’t repealed, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute.
That’s why Adam Silver, the commissioner for the National Basketball Association, believes that the league can work with North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory to put an end to the discriminatory legislation. In an April interview, Silver stated his belief that “the best role for the league to play here is through constructive engagement towards change … behind closed doors.”
“Sports can be used as a constructive force to bring people together,” Silver explained. “Ultimately, our interest is in conducting a successful All-Star Game in North Carolina and having a team that can play there in a nondiscriminatory environment.”
Silver, who has said that he will wait until the end of summer to make a decision on whether to move the All-Star Game, stated that he believes change will come.
“I think both sides of the issue realize, no matter how heartfelt their views are, that the current state of being is causing enormous economic damage to the state,” Silver said. “There is absolutely strong interest in working something out.”