Steve Ballmer was was introduced as the Clipper’s new owner at the Clippers Fan Festival today. Watching him makes me almost forget that he was ever a CEO of a tech company. He seems to belong on the court. His passion – the yelling, high-fiving, jumping – that was seen by many as childish as the leader of Microsoft, fits so well as the owner of a Basketball franchise.
A not so well known fact about Ballmer is that he is a HUGE basketball fan. Even more unknown is his history with the game. He grew up playing the game, and while he went on to work at Microsoft, he still wished for the talent to take his game to the next level. Microsoft shared practice facilities with the SuperSonics in the 90’s, allowing Ballmer to get to know players and trainers, becoming good friends with Gordon, who ran workouts for stars, children, local execs, and their children. Ballmer is also a great supporter of his kids, and is at home in the stands, screaming his support at games.
On the flip side, his passion for his kids and basketball did lead to a scandal at Lakeside High school, where his oldest son went to school. You can read more about it here and judge for yourself.
The Clippers are a team on the rise, led by Christ Paul and Blake Griffin. Ballmer has a chance at cementing them as contenders for the champion ships and building a legacy of winning so as not to be forgotten in the Lakers’ shadow once again. As an NBA fan, it will be interesting seeing the Ballmer lead Clippers, but I will miss Ballmer’s passion at Microsoft. However, it is clear he has found something that he has probably dreamed about for decades. Hopefully, he influenced his peers at Microsoft with his passion and candor, and inspired other CEO’s to be a little more passionate and less businesslike as well.
His introduction and the press conference are embedded below for your viewing pleasure.