Update: It's official. The NBA has released this statement:
"The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.
"Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.
"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community – current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.
"We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons – including members of the LGBT community – feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.
"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.
"The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks."
ESPN fully endorsed the move by the NBA:
ESPN has demonstrated a strong commitment to inclusion. The NBA's decision is one which we fully support, emphatically illustrating that the league clearly stands for inclusion as well.
The NBA has decided to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of North Carolina's anti-LGBT law, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical website reports.
Without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, league sources told The Vertical.
The NBA is focused on the New Orleans' Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, league sources told The Vertical.
For now, there are still other cities trying to lure the All-Star Game, sources said.
A formal announcement on the NBA's withdrawal out of Charlotte is expected as soon as this week, league sources said Thursday.
Wojnarowski is more plugged in than any NBA writer, so this looks like solid information. The NBA has been hinting at this for weeks and it's great that they are making a move. There is no way the league could have held the game in Charlotte given the stance taken by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Louisiana does not have a "religious freedom" law like HB2 in North Carolina that is a license to discriminated against LGBT people. HB2 continues to bite its supporters in the ass and I hope it leads to Gov. Pat McCrory going down to defeat this fall since he has made his state a symbol of intolerance.