Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Steve Ballmer debuts as LA Clippers owner

Steve Ballmer

New Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, center, fires up the crowd as he speaks at the Clippers Fan Festival on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

By
August 20, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — Sweating, clapping and shouting until he was nearly hoarse, Steve Ballmer introduced himself to Los Angeles Clippers fans at a rally on Monday celebrating his new ownership of the NBA team.

The former Microsoft CEO made his way through the crowd inside Staples Center to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” exchanging high-fives and chest-bumping as he took the stage in front of 4,500 fans.

Ballmer paid a record $2 billion for the team in a sale that was confirmed by a judge last week. The name of disgraced former owner Donald Sterling, who controlled the team for 33 years before being banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks, was never uttered during the rally.

“We’re looking forward,” Ballmer proclaimed, having removed his blue Clippers hat. “Everything is about looking forward.”

Ballmer’s fervor was in stark contrast to Sterling, who never spoke to the media and was famously frugal when it came to spending on the team during decades of losing — despite having amassed a fortune through real estate.

“Today is about this other guy who just happened to have two billion dollars in his pocket,” coach Doc Rivers joked on stage. “I asked him are you sure it went through and he said, ‘I know my bank account is minus two billion so I know something went through.'”

Ballmer gave out his email address during the televised rally and was quick to assure fans he won’t move the team to Seattle, where he’s lived for 34 years. He was nearly an NBA owner last year before league owners chose to keep the Kings in Sacramento, rather than allow them to be sold to a group that included Ballmer and moved to Seattle.

“I love Los Angeles,” he said. “Yes, I live in Seattle. We’re not moving the Clippers to Seattle for a hundred reasons.”

Ballmer used a microphone, but his booming voice easily filled the arena without it. He prowled the stage and gestured to make his points in the enthusiastic style he was known for among Microsoft employees.

“We’re going to be bold. Bold means taking chances,” he said. “We’re going to be optimistic. We’re going to be hard-core. Nothing gets in our way, boom! The hard-core Clippers, that’s us.”

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were among eight players on hand, along with Rivers, who guided the Clippers to 57 wins last season, his first with the team.

“When he came through the crowd, I literally had goose bumps,” Griffin said afterward. “I don’t know if there’s one good word to describe him. I know all our guys are excited about the energy he brings. It’s completely different.”

Ballmer took a few emailed questions from season ticketholders, including a 26-year fan who asked how the next 26 years of the franchise would be different.

“I’ll boldly say the Clippers will win many, many more Larrys in the next 26 years than they did in the last 26,” he said, referring to the Larry O’Brien trophy that goes to the NBA champion.

Rivers clearly got a kick out of Ballmer’s passionate display, cracking up at his new boss’ proclamations after having previously seen him only on YouTube.

“I love energy,” Rivers said later. “You get caught up in that and that’s good. That was great for our fans.”

Interim CEO Dick Parsons testified during the court battle over the team’s sale that Rivers would quit if Sterling was the owner going into next season.

“Sometimes you do have to take a stand,” Rivers said. “I didn’t think I was going to have to (quit), but a lot of us were willing to for sure.”

He added, “You always have to move on. I have.”

Ballmer gave the title “owner emeritus” to Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, who negotiated the deal. She will receive two floor seats, 10 other seats and parking at Staples Center for games.

“Without her this deal does not get done,” Rivers said afterward. “She wants to be a fan. She’s no longer the owner. I’m fine with that.”

Ballmer shared dinner with Rivers and some of the players a night earlier, when the discussion focused on where he’ll sit during games. Sterling sat at mid-court within earshot of the players.

When someone suggested behind the Clippers’ bench, like Dallas owner Mark Cuban does, Rivers said, “I don’t know if I could deal with that energy.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Cellphone theft in Fairfield prompts police search

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Police arrest Vacaville man after alleged attack on business owner

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    .

    US / World

    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    .

    Business

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8