Mass. pols bid to bring NBA All-Star Game to Boston

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STATE HOUSE — In the wake of the NBA’s decision to pull its All-Star Game from Charlotte over North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law, Massachusetts politicians are offering the Bay State as an alternative.

“Bring the #AllStarGame to MA, where we recently advanced civil rights with #transgender law,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo wrote on Twitter Thursday.

On July 8, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law banning discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation, including provisions allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and other sex-segregated facilities based on their gender identity.

The North Carolina law, cited by NBA officials in their decision to move the game, requires people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth while in government facilities.

“If that’s one of the concerns that the NBA has, I think that Massachusetts and Boston in particular can fit that bill very well,” DeLeo told reporters Friday.

In April, while the public accommodations bill was still pending before the Massachusetts Legislature, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, encouraging him to consider relocating the game to Boston.

In the letter, Rosenberg referenced the 2004 legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts and a 2011 law that first extended anti-discrimination protections to transgender people — as well as “the best fans in the nation when it comes to our sports teams.”

Asked about DeLeo’s tweet on WGBH Radio Friday, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said his city “would be a great option if they truly want to send a message.”

Boston last hosted an NBA All-Star Game in 1964.

— Written by Katie Lannan

Copyright State House News Service