The Los Angeles Clippers have a new owner – Steve Ballmer officially purchased the Clippers. Following the entry of an order by a California court, Shelly Sterling was granted the authority to sell the team.
Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, bid $2 billion for the Clippers. “It’s very, very exciting. I’m a basketball nut,” Ballmer said ESPN. “I’ve got time. I love Los Angeles. I love Seattle, too, which is where we have our home. But the notion of spending a lot of time in Los Angeles has been exciting to me for years. The community down there is great. I look forward to supporting the community, the fan base, the staff, Doc and the players to take this thing to higher heights.”
During the court proceedings, Ballmer admitted to various outlets that he was very frustrated with the waiting and the court proceedings but throughout the process he remained optimistic that everything would work out.
“My job has been to complete the deal and there were a lot of people, including me, working on it for a long time,” Ballmer said. “Was I kind of itchy? Sure. But I knew the only thing I could do or should do was complete the final deal, and we were able to do that this morning.”
On July 15, The NBA’s board of governors interviewed Ballmer and they took a vote electronically last week in which he was unanimously approved as an owner.
Ballmer’s takeover of the Clippers follows weeks of legal tussling between Shelly and Donald Sterling, the 80-year-old billionaire whom the NBA banned earlier this year for making offensive remarks about blacks.
The Clippers were bought in 1981 by Sterling for $12.5 million. Including Ballmer, there were six other serious bidders. The three highest bids were $1.2 billion from a group including former NBA player Grant Hill and Los Angeles businessmen Bruce Karsh and Tony Ressler, $1.6 billion from a group fronted by music mogul David Geffen, and $2 billion from Ballmer.