Silver says NBA plans to keep next All-Star game in Utah
NEW YORK – The NBA plans to keep its next All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, despite its opposition to Utah’s ban on young transgender athletes from playing on girls’ teams.
The Utah Jazz is set to host the event next February, but there was speculation the NBA could pull it because of what the team called “discriminatory legislation.”
But commissioner Adam Silver said on Wednesday the event would remain as scheduled.
“There has been no discussion in the past two days about moving the All-Star Game to Salt Lake City, and we have no plans to move the game,” Silver said.
The NBA withdrew the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over its opposition to a North Carolina law known as HB2 that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The game was played in New Orleans before the league returned to Charlotte in 2019.
Silver said the circumstances were different this time, adding that the league didn’t want to be in a position where it risked having to keep moving its events as similar laws became more common. When Utah GOP lawmakers imposed their ban last month, he joined 11 other states with similar legislation.
“In the case of HB2 in North Carolina, I think it was our collective perspective, we work with the Hornets, that we could have an impact on this legislation,” Silver said. “I think in the case of what’s going on in Utah right now, that bill is settled.
“At least our initial view, working with the Utah Jazz, is that we’re going to have to find a way to work in that environment and create an inclusive environment for our game, rather than taking the position that we’ve taken. somewhat of an independent ability to change the minds of Utah voters on this.
Silver spoke after the league’s board of governors met in person for two days, which he said was the first time the full board had done this in some time.
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Now in its third season, the play-in tournament looks likely to return. Teams that finish in the No. 7-10 spots in each conference will play for the No. 7 and 8 seeds next week, and the league believes it has made the latter stages of the regular season more competitive with clubs trying to enter or exceed it and automatically qualify in the top six places.
“We’re happy with it,” Silver said. “It may need to be modified additionally. We’ll see how it goes this year, but I think it’s going to become a staple in this league.
Silver remains concerned about the need for top players to appear in more games, saying it’s something the league and the National Basketball Players Association need to address, perhaps adding more incentives or reducing the schedule of 82 matches.
“I’ve also said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well. That’s something, as we sit down and look at new media deals and we’re looking at a new collective agreement, we’re going to look at it,” Silver said.
“There were no knocks on the table or anything like that. From my discussions with the players, they recognize that this is also a problem. The style of play has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies. I think we have to constantly assess and look at a market going forward and say, what is the best way to present our product and over how long per season? »
Silver said the competition committee is looking at what are known as fouls, where players intentionally foul sometimes in midfield to prevent an early break. He indicated that a new rule could arrive, possibly in July.
“But because we’re seeing a pretty dramatic increase in fouls, we don’t think that’s a big part of our game,” Silver said. “International basketball has another way of doing it, but it’s something we would like to potentially change.”
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