On this normal Monday morning in LA, everything seemed to be normal, unless you went to the LA Clippers Fan Festival. What was supposed to be a celebration for the fans actually turned out to be more of a debut for the new LA Clippers owner, Steve Ballmer. Ballmer is a 58 year old businessman, former CEO of Microsoft, and the new owner of the LA Clippers. After months of legal situations with previous Clippers owner and proclaimed racist, Donald Sterling, the official sale of the Clippers was finalized last week. Ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers was finalized after a record-breaking $2 billion dollars deal, which as Doc Rivers mentioned today, “Ballmer just happened to have sitting in his bank account.” According to Forbes Magazine, Steve Ballmer is worth an easy $21.3 billion dollars!!!
After ownership was transferred last week, the Clippers Fan Festival was quickly announced. The first 2,500 fans in attendance would receive a free Clippers t-shirt. It also included a complimentary popcorn and soda for the exciting show that was about to start. The show included an introductory speech by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has apparently already started a friendly relationship with Ballmer, and supports the upcoming LA Clippers team. Then it was passed on to the voice of the Clippers, Ralph Lawler, who proceeded to introduce the night and the Clippers players in attendance. The Clippers in attendance included C.J. Wilcox, Reggie Bullock, Jordan Farmar, Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and Head Coach, Doc Rivers. DeAndre, Blake, and Chris Paul proceeded to thank the fans for their continued support, while sharing some laughs and smiles on stage. Next up was Doc Rivers who gave a quick speech on the offseason thus far and the journey of getting to this point with a new owner. You could tell from Doc Rivers and the players that they’re eager to get back on the court, and that they want to bring home the first NBA Title for the Clippers organization.
Last but not least, the man of the hour and the main attraction of the Fan Festival, Steve Ballmer! It was as if the Clippers just announced Blake Griffin or Chris Paul to start the first game of the preseason. The lights were dim, and the colorful lights hit as Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” played loudly to Steve Ballmer running out from the stands and giving the fans in attendance high fives and high energy! It was amazing! Then Steve went on stage to greet all the players, giving them the approved hand shake (which he was probably taught). It was definitely a fun feeling as all the Clippers fans were definitely getting a kick out of it. If you’ve ever seen any past videos of Ballmer’s speeches at Microsoft, you’ll know what was coming next. More high energetic screaming and enthusiasm could perfectly describe it, but it was something that you would probably need to see in person for yourself. Ballmer is very excited and honored to be the new owner of the Clippers and has high aspirations for the team. He started off with an “I Love Larry” chant, referring to the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, which the Clippers don’t have yet. But, he would continue with more yelling and fan engagement to get everyone excited. He emphasized that the team is in good hands and that it starts with leadership. He knows that with his direction, Doc Rivers’ leadership, and the Clippers team in front of him that they have what it takes to contend for an NBA Championship. After more screaming and Ballmer almost losing his voice, you could even hear him mention that the Clippers will win some Championships in his time as Clippers owner. The new Clippers owner even let his email address slip out to the entire audience, which shows his dedication to the fans and their experience with the Clippers. He eventually would end by answering some question from season ticket holders. One 26 season ticket holder asked, “What are you going to do differently from the past 26 years in the next 26 years?” Steve Ballmer responded with, “Win more Championships than the last 26 years!”
And there you have it folks. It looks like Steve Ballmer is setting the tone for the new LA Clippers franchise early. He has high aspirations and high expectations, and we should expect nothing less.
A Proud Clipper Fan. (and now a Steve Ballmer fan!)