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New Orleans to replace Charlotte as NBA All-Star Game host – report

The NBA North American basketball league will stage its 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans, a report claimed today (Friday).

The Associated Press news agency, citing a source familiar with the matter, reported that Smoothie King Center, the home arena of NBA team the New Orleans Pelicans, would stage the mid-season showpiece next February. The source told the AP today that the news would be made official within the day.

New Orleans will replace Charlotte as the location for next year’s All-Star Game. Charlotte last month had its hosting rights withdrawn by the NBA amid ongoing concerns over a law in the city’s home state of North Carolina that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The law, which is known as HB2, states that transgender people must use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings, and excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from antidiscrimination protections related to the workplace, hotels and restaurants.

The NBA has repeatedly stressed its opposition to the law since its introduction in March. “While we recognise 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,” an NBA statement said last month following the decision.

The 2016 All-Star Game was staged at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on February 14, while the 2018 edition will take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles. New Orleans has staged the event twice before, in 2008 and 2014.