Adam Silver: 2023 NBA All-Star Game Won't Relocate Despite Utah's HB11

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

NEW YORK - APRIL 6: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media after the Board of Governors meetings on April 6, 2022 at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that there have been no discussions about moving the 2023 NBA All-Star Game out of Salt Lake City despite a controversial bill recently passed by the state of Utah.

According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, HB11, which was passed last month, prevents transgender athletes from playing school sports in the gender division they identify with.

When the state of North Carolina passed HB2 in 2016, which banned transgender people from using public bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity, the NBA reacted by moving the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Regarding the decision to react differently to Utah's bill than it did to North Carolina's, Silver said:

"Every situation is unique. ... It's our collective view that we can continue to operate in Utah, and frankly don't want to be in a position where we're chased from state to state around the country. Times have changed. There are different issues going on now in the country than there were in 2017. I personally don't like the trend. We also are mindful as a league that we look for opportunities to unite people rather than divide them."

Silver added: "We're going to have to find a way to work in that environment and create an inclusive environment for our game rather than take the position that we have somehow an independent ability to change the minds of the voters of Utah in this."

One of the most notable opponents of HB11 is Jazz owner Ryan Smith, who released a statement last month saying that the Jazz "oppose discriminatory legislation."

Silver called the recent implementation of anti-transgender bills in the United States a "trend" and referred to it as "very divisive."

Assuming the NBA maintains its stance and the 2023 NBA All-Star Game does indeed remain in Utah, it will mark the first All-Star Game to take place in Salt Lake City since 1993, when Jazz stars Karl Malone and John Stockton shared MVP honors in a 135-132 overtime win for the Western Conference.