The National Basketball Association is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the state's so-called bathroom bill that many say discriminates against transgender people.
The decision will cost North Carolina millions of dollars that basketball fans spend every year at the game, which showcases the league's best players. Media reports said the game would be moved to New Orleans.
NBA officials had warned for months that the league could move the game if the state did not overturn the law requiring transgenders to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates, not the one with which they identify.
Other parts of the law strip discrimination protection from gays and lesbians.
"Our weeklong 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," a league statement said Thursday. "We do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by [the] HB2 [law]."
Basketball great Michael Jordan, chairman of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, said he regretted that efforts to work out a compromise failed.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a supporter of the measure, criticized what he called the "sports and entertainment elite" for misrepresenting a law he said was aimed at protecting the privacy of boys and girls in school bathrooms, showers and locker rooms.
Several top entertainers also have canceled shows in North Carolina because of the law, including Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen and the Cirque du Soleil troupe.