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Previewing The 2017 NBA All-Star Game: 'The Ball Bounces The Same For Everyone'

An enormous image of Pelicans star Anthony Davis and the word "equality" faces the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center in advance of this weekend's NBA All-Star Game.
Jason Saul
/
WWNO
An enormous image of Pelicans star Anthony Davis and the word "equality" faces the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center in advance of this weekend's NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game is this weekend in New Orleans. The NBA moved the game to New Orleans from Charlotte after North Carolina passed House Bill 2, a controversial piece of legislation aimed at limiting transgendered people’s public bathroom choices.

New Orleans Public Radio's Jason Saul spoke with WDSU sportscaster Fletcher Mackel about what we should expect this weekend.

And thanks to Tom Bullock, a reporter at WFAE in Charlotte. Tom tells us the fallout from HB2 has really affected the people of the city.

"It actually originally started because the City of Charlotte passed an ordinance that would allow transgender individuals to use the public restroom, shower facility, changing facility of their choice — which meant that they could use it according to their gender identity," Tom says. "The General Assembly here, our state legislature, immediately started saying 'Don't do this, we're going to revoke it.' And what they ended up doing wasn't just revoking the city ordinance. They ended up passing arguably the most controversial bill in the country right now."

Tom says the loss of the game has really hit Charlotte hard.

"This is a city that still has kind of a chip on its shoulder. It's still looking for that one thing to define it," he says. "We're the second-largest banking city in the country, but Charlotte is still kind of striving to become seen as a world-class city, and in some quarters they thought that this All-Star Game would do that.

"So to lose it, and to lose it in such a way that it was becoming not just national news but late night punch lines, really really bothered Charloteans in particular. And there's a bitter irony here that a lot of Charloteans feel, which is of course the NBA pulling the All-Star Game from Charlotte is actually hurting the city that did what the NBA really wanted, which is to pass that kind of an ordinance."

Jason Saul served as WWNO's Director of Digital Services. In 2017 he took a position at BirdNote, in Seattle.