Months ago, Donald Sterling achieved infamy and national attention after making disparaging comments to his girlfriend about blacks—all recorded on tape. The, now former, Clippers owner earned himself a lifetime ban from the league and was fined $2.5 million for his uncouth and defiant behavior.
The N.B.A.’s Commissioner, Adam Silver, gave Donald’s wife Rochelle permission to sell the team before Donald was officially removed by vote. That’s when former chief executive of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, stepped in.
Finalizing the deal for a whopping $2 billion, outbidding his opponents by $400 million, Ballmer became owner of the L.A. Clippers. Clippers fans and the team are thrilled about the transition. Head coach for the team, Doc Rivers, had this to say about Ballmer, “This is an amazing new day in Clippers history. I couldn’t be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization.”
Ballmer shares a passion for basketball and for winning, two things not seen in Sterling. Sterling had a penchant for ruining teams. With Sterling came the ominous sign of bad things to come, even with the fortune of having some of the most reputable players in the league such as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Ballmer’s sheer presence will give the team the positive push they’ve been lacking all this time.
The optimism for the Clippers’ new owner was palpable at a news conference last month to introduce Lakers Coach Byron Scott when Magic Johnson said, “You’re talking about a guy who wants to win, who loves basketball. He’s going to do everything he can to put them in a championship situation because he wants to win so bad.”
In the meantime, Sterling continues to hangs on like dead weight with his $1 billion antitrust suit against the league and Silver, to which the N.B.A filed a counterclaim to recover damages from the “incalculable harm” Sterling’s recorded remarks caused the league.