The face we’ll see behind the Clippers bench next season will be the shiny, sweaty, slithery tongue-wielding Steve Ballmer, formerly Microsoft CEO. The jubilant businessman made a name for himself as the excitable captain of Microsoft, but ended his post as CEO after fourteen years in charge. Now, after what was described as a heated bidding war, Ballmer will take charge of the Los Angeles Clippers after a $2 billion offer was accepted, the Los Angeles Times reports; it’s a record-setting price for an NBA team.
Ballmer reportedly outbid folks like Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh, and another group that featured David Geffen, which allegedly bid $1.6 billion. The reported sales price is nearly four times the high previous bid made for an NBA franchise, eclipsing the $550 million paid for the Milwaukee Bucks. In terms of American sports, this is the second highest sum pair for a sports team, falling just behind the 2012 sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which went for $2.1 billion.
Following controversial comments made by former owner Donald Sterling, the NBA’s Adam Silver banned Sterling for life, and attempted to force the sale of his team. A hearing is currently scheduled for five days from now, where the NBA will attempt to oust co-owner Shelly Sterling, Donald’s wife, from ownership; the $2 billion bid will need the go-ahead from both Shelly and Donald before it becomes official. It also needs approval from the other 29 NBA owners, the LA Times noted. Apparently Ballmer considered moving the team to Seattle, where he lives, but will only receive approval if the team remains in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Clippers have quickly become one of the NBA’s most beloved teams following Sterling’s comments, and they have nothing but potential after once again reaching the playoffs. Commenting on the immense valuation bid for the team, Ballmer said it makes sense because of the team’s Los Angeles location, suggesting he has no intention of moving. No official announcement has been made by the Clippers. Once/if the deal goes through, we can only imagine how Ballmer will react. Good to see you back, Ballmer.