NBA: Fix that anti-LGBT law soon or lose the 2017 All-Star Game

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JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Basketball Writer

OAKLAND, California (AP) — Adam Silver has steadfastly refused to set any deadlines for when the NBA would decide on moving the 2017 All-Star 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.

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