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MURRELL COLUMN: Note to Texas: don’t become next N. Carolina

NBA ALl-STAR GAME

• When: 7 tonight

• Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

• TV: TNT

Whew, that Super Bowl was a rush, wasn’t it?

Seeing Houston — in my 1990s lingo — get crunk like that was a sight to see.

Maybe it was the reason I ended up in Southeast Texas. You know, just to get close to the action, anyway.

And that All-Star Saturday night in New Orleans? Ah, man, that’s one of the best music concerts out there. (DNCE and DJ Khaled killed it.)

No reason it’s always scheduled close to the Grammys.

Down on the Gulf Coast, we almost take these great events for granted, it seems like. Houston and New Orleans are suited for stuff like this.

But at the rate Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s mind is going, all we’ll have to count on for nearby Super Bowls and NBA All-Star games is New Orleans. Dallas won’t even get its hands on them.

The NBA and NFL have threatened that if Texas legislators pass this “bathroom bill” that Patrick — a former sportscaster, of all professions —  known in North Carolina as the successful HB2, the leagues will pull an NCAA and deny this state signature events. So far, though, the NBA hasn’t threatened moving the Finals from Houston should the Rockets (somehow) get there.

Who better to turn to for these tidbits than Forbes: The magazine estimated the bill that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed in March cost his state $630 million in business.

The total, Forbes researched, isn’t all tied to sports. PayPal, it reported, pulled out of opening a center in Charlotte, movie and cable-television studios decided against filming in the state (cue the peachy “Made in Georgia” jingle), a real estate research firm decided keep a $250 million investment out of North Carolina, and the NBA and NCAA made their own statements, too.

The All-Star Weekend that’s going on in New Orleans? You’re enjoying that, right, or maybe you have a ticket to tonight’s All-Star Game?

Yeah, thank North Carolina — or the NBA — for that.

The city where Michael Jordan owns a basketball team lost hosting rights because of HB2, so the NBA picked the city where a Hornets team played before Charlotte dropped the “Bobcats” identity. Losing a big basketball event is not supposed to happen to North Carolina, the home of Tobacco Road.

You think the NCAA cares? Think again.

Seven NCAA championship events have been pulled out of North Carolina. Heck, the Atlantic Coast Conference, home to the four Tobacco Road schools, won’t even stage championships for as long as the bill is in place.

The initial thought is that these leagues are wielding their power a bit much. But how else are they supposed to protest an unnecessary bill?

We could be leaving a lot of money on the table, and the decision doesn’t rest in the hands of Texans. Or, does it?

A bill that won’t affect which bathroom I and many others use is not worth any state losing a lot of entertainment value over, no matter if it’s the size of Texas. I also know the bill isn’t about me and many others.

If one thing proponents and opponents of the bill should agree on, losing big business — and championship sports — are an unnecessary travesty.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at ic.murrell@panews.com. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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