The Sacramento Kings already have a win — and their stadium hasn't even opened yet.
The Golden 1 Center, the new home of the National Basketball Association team, will feature all-gender restrooms. It may be the first major sports stadium to boast trans-inclusive facilities, according to the team's president, Chris Granger.
"It was the right thing to do," Granger told The Advocate Saturday during an advance press tour.
Construction on the Golden 1 Center began about two years ago. During this time, North Carolina has made international headlines for passing House Bill 2, which among other things denies transgender people the right to use public restrooms (in government buldings) that correspond with their gender identity. The NBA pulled its All-Star game from Charlotte due to this discriminatory legislation.
The NBA's decision was applauded by the Kings and its owner and chairman, Vivek Ranadivé.
"In basketball and in Silicon Valley, we share a similar philosophy – it does not matter who you are, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, or the color of your skin – everyone is welcome in our family. All that matters is that you’ve got game," Ranadivé said.
The controversy inspired the Golden 1 Center to incorporate all-gender restrooms in addition to men's and women's facilities. Granger, a former NBA executive who was hired as Kings president in July 2013, said the move reflects the California city's inclusive spirit.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the stadium is Friday, and it will be open to the public for an open house the following day. Paul McCartney will be the inaugural headliner, in concerts October 4 and 5.
The bathrooms aren't the only highlight of the state-of-the-art stadium, which can seat up to 17,000 fans. It also has free Wi-Fi, with speeds that are 17,000 times faster than the average network. There are artworks like an 18-foot piglet sculpture by Jeff Koons. And its main video board, which is nearly the size of the basketball court, is among the largest in the league.
Reflecting the city's "farm-to-fork" philosophy advocated by the venue's executive chef, Michael Tuohy, the Golden 1 Center offers cuisine sourced from local farms and restaurants like Centro Cocina Mexicana, Lowbrau, Mulvaney's B&L, and Cafe Bernardo. It functions entirely on solar power.