Ballmer thrilled to own Clippers

DEEP POCKETS: Ballmer paid US$2 billion to buy the team, the most paid for an NBA franchise.


    Aug 14, 2014

    Ballmer thrilled to own Clippers


    STEVE Ballmer isn't sweating the price tag or any risk that came with buying the Los Angeles Clippers for US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion), about four times the most money spent to buy a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise.

    "It's the price I paid, and I'm thrilled," Ballmer, 58, a former Microsoft chief executive, said.

    "I have a history of looking at tech companies, and I'd say basketball teams are lower risk."

    The sale of the franchise was completed on Tuesday as a California judge filed an order confirming Shelly Sterling's right to sell the team, the NBA said.

    Her husband, Donald Sterling, had bought the team in 1981 for US$12.5 million.

    Said Ballmer: "I am going to figure out how to support the team and take it to the next level.

    "You've got to be tenacious and keep pushing, pushing, and pushing to take it to the next level. I will."

    The closing concludes a 31/2-month ordeal for the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver that began when audio of Donald Sterling telling a female friend he didn't want her bringing black people to his team's games was posted on the Internet. That led to condemnation from players and businesses associated with the game, threats of boycotts and lawsuits. Coach Doc Rivers also threatened to leave although he will "absolutely" remain now, Ballmer said.

    Previously, the most paid for an NBA team was US$550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Ballmer becomes the richest NBA owner with a net worth of US$20.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    Ballmer, who tried to buy the Sacramento Kings previously, said he's not a basketball expert so he won't be designing plays in Los Angeles. "At the end of the day, it's like product development: Support, challenge, understand, and, occasionally, give them something to think about," he said.