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Bulls open to hosting 2017, future All-Star Games after NBA nixes Charlotte

July 22,2016 13:13

The Bulls last hosted an All-Star Game in 1988 at the Chicago Stadium, with Jordan winning a memorable dunk contest against Dominique Wilkins and earning MVP honors during the game. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and son Michael, the team's president ...



Michael Jordan authored so many winning moments at the United Center. Could a loss for his current franchise's city provide an opportunity for the Bulls arena to mark a significant first?The NBA's historic decision Thursday to pull the February 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of North Carolina's anti-LGBT legislation has created a venue void.
And while Yahoo Sports reported that New Orleans has emerged as the front-runner to land the 2017 game, the league is considering Chicago among several potential options.The Bulls last hosted an All-Star Game in 1988 at the Chicago Stadium, with Jordan winning a memorable dunk contest against Dominique Wilkins and earning MVP honors during the game. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and son Michael, the team's president and chief operating officer, have stated their lack of desire to host the game at the United Center out of respect for season ticket holders, who mostly get displaced when the league takes over the venue.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken a proactive approach to landing premier sports events such as the NFL draft, and the Reinsdorfs have a strong personal and professional relationship with Emanuel.In fact, even if the United Center doesn't land the 2017 game, the Bulls might be open to bidding for future All-Star Games, a source said. Emanuel said in March the city would try to poach businesses and conventions seeking to relocate from North Carolina because of the discriminatory legislation.New York/Brooklyn also is an option for the 2017 game, ESPN.com reported. Louisiana, Illinois and New York have passed recent state legislation prohibiting discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender people.
The NBA had expressed its opposition to the North Carolina law known as HB2 — which limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people — since it was enacted in March, and Thursday's decision came less than a month after state legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged."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," the league said in a statement.The league said it hopes to announce a new location shortly and hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte if the matter is resolved."There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so," Jordan, now chairman of the Hornets, said in a statement. "With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019."Associated Press contributed.kcjohnson@chicagotribune.comTwitter @KCJHoop

NBA All-Star Game,North Carolina anti-LGBT law,HB2,Adam Silver,Michael Jordan,Jerry Reinsdorf,United Center,Chicago Bulls,Charlotte Hornets

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