Reports indicate that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who is a legend for his zany antics during his tenure with the company, has had his $2 billion bid for the rights to the LA Clippers, a top-tier NBA franchise, accepted by Shelly Sterling. Sterling is the wife of disgraced team owner Donald Sterling, who is infamous for making racist comments that were recorded by his former girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
As both a tech head and a rabid sports fan, I think this is tremendous news for both the NBA and the world of tech. Though the average sports fan may not know it just by looking at him, tech geeks know all too well that Ballmer is an absolute wild man when it comes to stuff that he’s passionate about. For that, and other reasons as well, we think Steve Ballmer is the perfect guy to take over the Clippers. Moreover, the man simply belongs in the world of sports.
With that in mind, here are 10 reasons why Steve Ballmer will be the best sports team owner ever.
10. Ballmer is crazier than the craziest sports team mascot
We’re all aware of nutty sports team mascots, whether it’s the Philly Phanatic, or Bernie Brewer and the Famous Racing Sausages. But if Ballmer can go crazy passionate in public about something as dry (to most sports fans, that is) as software developers, can you imagine how freakin’ nuts he’ll get the first time he’s sitting courtside as the owner of the Clippers and witnesses one of Blake Griffin’s trademark monster dunks?
He’ll definitely be doing one of these, that’s for damn sure.
9. Steve Ballmer is more passionate than the most die-hard sports fan
When you think of sports fans, you think of people who love their squads so much, that they’re willing to go to games naked in sub zero weather wearing nothing but an empty barrel. Thankfully, NBA is an indoor sport, so we don’t have to worry about Steve donning his birthday suit after making the (inevitable) playoff victory guarantees he’ll soon spout about. That’s beside the point though: every sports team has crazy fans that love them no matter what, whether it’s the aforementioned (and infamous) Barrel Man, New York Jets uber-fan Fireman Ed, or the Hogettes, a group of dudes who love the Washington Redskins so much, that they cross-dress and wear pig masks to every ‘skins game. In case you don’t know, they do so in honor of the Hogs; the Redskins’ offensive line unit of the 1980s and 1990s that helped propel the team to three Super Bowl victories within a roughly 10-year time span.
Anyway, it’s the sort of passion that Ballmer regularly displayed during his tenure his Microsoft that makes him a perfect fit to be a sports team owner. Win or lose, the guy will go absolutely nuts, and make loopy sports fans seem vanilla by comparison. Just check out the below clip if you don’t believe me.
If he can get this excited about Windows 1.0, can you imagine him court-side during the NBA playoffs?
8. Ballmer’s LA Clippers are in the same conference as Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban, an Internet billionaire who owns NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has his own reputation for being a super fan/crazy sports team owner. He has been fined by the league for his outbursts and demonstrations while sitting in the stands at Mavericks games more times than I can remember. Here’s a clip of him going at it with a referee, who he gets into a physical altercation with, which was actually an April Fools prank.
Nevertheless, Cuban looks like some kind of nutty sports fan, right? Nope, that’s a billionaire businessman who’s allowed to be on the court because he owns the damn team. Though Cuban has toned it down in recent years (perhaps winning an NBA title against the Miami Heat had something to do with that…), I can’t even begin to imagine the feud that will likely ensue once Ballmer is officially minted as the owner of the LA Clippers.
By the way, both the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers are in the NBA’s Western Conference, meaning that they’ll likely be seeing plenty of each other next season.
7. Wait until Ballmer gets under the skin of sensitive NBA stars like LeBron James
One of the great things about sports is that, despite how chiseled many athletes are, many of them are really, really sensitive deep inside, and care too much about what the fans and other outsiders think. Take, for example, this LeBron James rant about NBA fans who rooted against him.
Think Steve Ballmer won’t get under LeBron’s skin? Ballmer has so passionately stirred up the emotions of people in tech, that he once got eggs thrown at him in Budapest, which he handled much better than James did when he reacted to fans who disliked him.
6. The NBA is full of weirdos, and Steve Ballmer might be the weirdest of them all
We all have conjured up that image of the stereotypical jock who excels at sports but has the personality of a two day old uncooked steak. However, the truth is, a lot of people in sports are just plain freakin’ weird, including the players themselves.
The latest example of this is Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson blowing in the ear of Miami Heat forward LeBron James. Why did he do it? Mind games? Man-crush? Who the heck knows, either way, it’s out there.
And if one thing’s for certain, Steve Ballmer knows a little something about being out there.
5. Steve Ballmer might be the best cheerleader ever
Many, if not all, NBA teams have full female cheerleading squads. However, no amount of sexualized bopping and bouncing around by a group of attractive females can match the raw emotion of Steve Ballmer’s cheerleading skills, as demonstrated in the clip below.
Look how fired up he gets about … developers. And notice how he actually gets a response from the crowd! If you have any doubts about the man’s ability to light a fire under a crowd of rabid NBA fans, just picture him covered in sweat like he is in the clip, chanting “DE-FENSE!!!” over and over again.
4. Ballmer can rename the LA Clippers to the LA Clippys!
Remember Clippy? He was the much-hated virtual assistant that would pop up in older versions of Microsoft Office and suggest certain actions and changes to users. Though Clippy has since been retired, we’re pretty sure that Ballmer could work out a deal with Microsoft to bring Clippy out of retirement and place him squarely at the front-front of the franchise’s logo and identity.
3. Ballmer has big bucks
Having the cash to buy a sports team, whether it’s in the NBA or another league, is one thing. However, having the willingness and ability to spend money on your team as an owner once you make your purchase is of utmost importance. Sure, some sports teams have been successful without spending much, but signing big stars to big contracts can help you get ahead in the game.
According to Forbes, Steve Ballmer is worth $20 billion. Assuming Ballmer is willing to spend on players, and he probably will be, the LA Clippers are in a position to be a premiere NBA franchise for years to come. That’s music to the ears of Clippers fans, who suffered with Donald Sterling, a notoriously cheap owner until recent years, for decades.
2. Ballmer is gonna be loved and hated like no other
Most sports team owners are fairly anonymous and stay out of the spotlight. Then, there are the other owners, like the aforementioned Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, and the late George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, who are so constantly visible, and often do and say weird things. Like this:
For the record, I’ve done some reading up on that clip, and Jerry Jones made his money in the oil business and was referring to a term that they use in the oil industry. Poor Jerry. I think Ballmer may have similar moments during his tenure as Clippers owner.
1. Ballmer is not afraid to take risks
During his time as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer had both his share of successes and failures. On the plus side, there was Xbox, Windows XP and Windows 7. On the down side, there was the Zune, Windows Vista, and Windows 8. Either way, if Ballmer’s term as CEO told us anything about the way the man operates, it’s this: he’ll do what he thinks is right, whether the public and press agree or not.
Will that be good for the Clippers in the long run overall? Maybe, maybe not. But, either way, it’ll probably be entertaining as hell for us fans and observers, that’s for sure.
Like this clip.