Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Officially Buys L.A. Clippers For $2B


Steve Ballmer is officially an NBA team owner.

The league said Tuesday that the former Microsoft CEO's $2 billion acquisition of the team closed following a California court ruling authorizing Shelly Sterling, acting on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to take control of the team and sell it. Her estranged husband, disgraced former owner Donald Sterling, unsuccessfully fought the sale of the Clippers, which he had owned since 1981. He originally bought the team for $12 million.

The NBA's board of governors had previously approved the deal.

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“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Ballmer said in a statement. “Clipper fans are so amazing. They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times. I will be hard core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA."

The sale comes after the NBA banned Donald Sterling for life after being recorded making racially insensitive comments.

After the recording came to light, multiple sponsors pulled away from the team and players voiced their disdain in having the 80-year-old billionaire remain at the helm.

Ballmer was CEO of Microsoft from January 2000 until his retirement this past February. Microsoft's annual revenue during that time skyrocketed from $25 billion to $70 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Forbes estimated the 58-year-old's net worth to be $20.7 billion.

Raymond Ribble, co-founder and managing partner of Los Angeles-based Microsoft partner Fusion Systems, said he sees Ballmer as a good match for the NBA.

"When I think of Ballmer, I think he fits right in with the Mark Cubans of the world. He fits right in," Ribble said, "He's exactly what the NBA wants. He knows how to use social media and he's extremely attractive to the NBA. He'll bring a fresh perspective to the league. It is young blood coming in."

During his time at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his unique on-stage antics at company events, which is why Ribble compares him to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as he too has been deemed unorthodox in his business meetings.

Ribble says he went to three or four of these events while doing business with Microsoft in Japan.

"I was a young guy myself coming up in the industry when Ballmer was coming on stage jumping up and down sweating and spitting," Ribble said. "It was 100 percent unconventional, but it definitely grabbed people's attention. I didn't know if he was schizophrenic or a genius, but I tried to convince myself it was genius".

PUBLISHED AUG. 12, 2014