BRADENTON, Fla. - The National Basketball Association blamed a law passed by North Carolina seen as discriminatory toward gay and transgender people for its decision to yank the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.
The NBA's action, announced late Thursday afternoon, is the latest in a series of high-profile events that have pulled out of the Queen City because the state passed House Bill 2.
Several businesses also terminated projects, including PayPal, which dropped plans to open a new global operations center.
"We do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2," the NBA said in a statement. "We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter."
In May, Moody's Investors Service warned that slowed economic activity due to the negative response from the law could challenge Charlotte's triple-A rated credit.
Local tourism officials claimed the All-Star Game would generate a local economic impact of $100 million.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts thanked the NBA in a tweet for the opportunity to be in line to get the 2019 All-Star Game.
Roberts also tweeted that the governor needed to "own up to his colossal mistake" and change the law before North Carolina loses more business and jobs.
Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement blaming the "sports and entertainment elite," liberal media, and others for misrepresenting state laws and maligning North Carolinians who support the law.
McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, signed HB 2 on March 23.
It requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that conform to the sex on their birth certificates and prohibits local governments from adopting antidiscrimination ordinances or changing the minimum wage within their jurisdiction.
The law, which has sparked lawsuits and a national debate over equal rights, also eliminates sexual orientation and gender identity from North Carolina's antidiscrimination protections.
The latest uproar over the state law emerges as North Carolina prepares to issue $200 million of general obligation bonds in the first borrowing of the voter-approved $2 billion "Connect NC" infrastructure financing plan.
The state, rated triple-A by all three major rating agencies, will take competitive bids Wednesday for the $200 million offering.
Moody's mentioned the HB 2 flap in its rating report, noting that in May the federal government filed a complaint against North Carolina alleging that the law violates federal antidiscrimination laws.
"The federal government has stated it will not withhold any federal aid while litigation is pending," Moody's said, adding that the state's reliance on this revenue stream and any withholding of federal revenues "may result in downward pressure on the state's credit profile."
The preliminary official statement for the bond issue contains a disclosure about HB 2 and private lawsuits that have been filed against the state as well as separate suits filed by the governor, the speaker of the House, and the president of the Senate against the federal government.
The POS said all litigation is in the early stages and the state is unable to predict the likely outcome.
"Some private corporations and other non-governmental entities have announced their intention, as a result of the adoption of HB 2, to forego activities which could have had a net beneficial impact on the state's economy," the POS also said. "The state cannot confirm any estimates or speculation about the possible economic effect of HB 2."
Charlotte had agreed to spend more than $1.5 million to host the coveted 66-year old NBA All-Star game.
Two hours after the NBA's announcement about moving it to an as-yet-undetermined location, fiscally struggling Louisiana put out the welcome mat hoping to lure the event to New Orleans.
"Louisiana is rich in diversity of heritage, culture, cuisine and people," said Gov. John Bel Edwards, "and we believe the NBA could not select a better place for everyone to come and enjoy this spectacular sporting event."