The NBA's amazing response to North Carolina's bathroom law is a really big deal.

The NBA just issued an ultimatum for North Carolina.

Photo by Shawn M. Haffey/Getty Images.


Unless the state repeals or significantly revises its anti-LGBT "bathroom law," the league plans to yank next year's All-Star Game out of Charlotte.

Steph Curry. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The law, passed in March, requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender as listed on their birth certificate, and it revoked several municipal LGBT protection ordinances.

Yahoo News broke the news:

"Without any movement by state legislators in North Carolina to change newly enacted laws targeted at the LGBT community, the NBA is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, league sources told The Vertical.

The NBA is focused on the New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center as the host for All-Star Weekend and the All-Star Game on Feb. 19."

And this is a very big deal — not only because of the pressure it puts on North Carolina, but because of how sports reflect our shared values.

American lives and breathes its sports. It's our weekly drama, our intergenerational glue, and our watercooler conversation. It's one of the few things that unites us by class, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Over 110 million of us watched the 2016 Super Bowl, for example. 30 million tuned in to the last game of this year's NBA Finals.

Our sports often decide whether something is largely right or wrong.

When Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1990, the NFL pulled the Super Bowl out of the state.

Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images.

"I think it would be an affront to our public and our players if the game was played there," Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman said at the time.

The message to black Americans was clear: "You're a part of us. And we'll stand up for you."

But progress on LGBT issues within the leagues has been slow. For a long time, the NBA had a spotty record of punishing anti-LGBT abuse on the court.

Rajon Rondo. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

When Kobe Bryant confronted a referee with an anti-gay slur and refused to apologize, he was fined heavily but not suspended.

When Rajon Rondo hurled the same slur at a gay ref last year, the league suspended him for one game.

However, lots of folks have changed their hearts and minds, which has led the leagues to take baby steps toward inclusion.

Last year, when Indiana passed a law that made it easier for businesses to refuse to serve LGBT customers, activists called on the NCAA to pull the Final Four out of the state. The league issued a statement opposing the law.

Still, they let the tournament go ahead.

By actually taking the All-Star Game away from North Carolina, the NBA is sending a clear message to LGBT Americans.

The NBA holds a moment of silence for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

"You're part of us. And we'll stand up for you."

And that message says something about us, too...

Rick Welts, president of the Golden State Warriors, attends San Francisco's Pride parade with the 2015 NBA championship trophy. Photo by Josh Edelson/Getty Images.

We're changing. Slowly. But for the better.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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