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Jazz could lose NBA All-Star Game over transgender bill

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 20:28:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As members of the legislature prepare to override the governor's veto of the controversial transgender sports bill, officials with the Utah Jazz are working to ensure next year's NBA All-Star Game remains in Salt Lake City.

House Bill 11 would ban transgender children in Utah from participating in school sports. Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed the bill Tuesday, but lawmakers have called for a special session Friday to override the veto.

The bill becoming law could create a sticky situation for the Jazz as the NBA has previously pulled high profile events from league cities. After the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law in 2016 that required transgender people to use restrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates, the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.

In a similar move, Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star Game from Atlanta last season after Georgia passed a controversial restrictive voting law.

While the NBA has not publicly commented on the Utah bill and the status of next year's game, a Utah Jazz spokesperson told FOX 13 News that the team is "working with the NBA."

In a tweet Wednesday, Jazz owner Ryan Smith wrote that the transgender bill was "rushed, flawed, and won’t hold up over time," adding that "we need to love these kids."

Major sporting events such as the All-Star Game bring millions to local economies and become a boon to businesses in the community.

With the 2023 All-Star Game scheduled to tip off in less than a year on Feb. 19, the league may act quickly if the bill stands as currently written in Utah; giving NBA officials much-needed time to find a replacement site.