A group of executives from some of Charlotte’s biggest companies also wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on June 24, voicing support for convening a “group to evaluate how our state can continue making progress against discrimination in any form.” That plan never materialized – and that letter, like others from Charlotte business leaders, was never sent to the NBA. That’s because the league was making clear it wanted broader changes to the controversial law.
Immediately, the measure led to celebrity boycotts, and companies canceling expansion plans. But few of those reactions caused business leaders more concern than the threat to move the 2017 All-Star weekend and its projected $100 million boost to Charlotte’s economy. Business leaders kicked off their efforts soon after the law was passed. “It was a complete galvanized community effort to do everything we could to try and save the All-Star Game in ’17 in Charlotte and to try … to encourage Raleigh to make some meaningful changes to a bill that we all felt needed to be changed,” Charlotte Hornets President Fred Whitfield said Thursday.
In the end, Charlotte business leaders never sent the letters to the NBA, which had already made clear that it was not satisfied with the legislature’s actions. In mid-July, team owners convened in Las Vegas for their annual owners meeting. Some owners supported keeping the game in Charlotte, Whitfield said, though he wouldn’t say who they were. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts, who is openly gay, suggested that he would be uncomfortable coming to Charlotte for the game, according to sources who didn’t want to be named discussing internal deliberations.
Who is the best dunker you have ever seen? Julius Erving: I’ll tell you; Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don’t know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn’t been seen before. I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there’s a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I’m gonna let him reside in that spot right there.
Where did this past dunk contest rank on your all-time list? Julius Erving: It was clearly as good as the Wilkins-Jordan showdown, and I had a showdown with David Thompson back in ’76 which was the last year in the ABA. It doesn’t get acknowledged as much, but it was a great showdown. But Zach and [Aaron] Gordon, in terms of the guys who are judging and to hear what they had to say during that time, records are made to be broken, and standards of the bar are established to be challenged so somebody can go above it. I would put those two guys, the things they did this past show in Toronto, at the top of the bar. Even for them to chase next year, or put some new guys next year to go after it…they have raised the bar to a different level.
Louisiana hasn’t been asked to chip in money for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game yet. Attracting such events usually requires the state to put up some money, but Gov. John Bel Edwards’ staff said the NBA hasn’t requested any funding at this point.