New Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer thinks his Clippers organization can become 'Americas Team' according to an interview with USA Today Sports.
In the long interview he also touched on many points including what kind of a leader he would be, and good news for clippers fans, he doesn't plan on being the Jerry Jones-esque owner. He will let Doc Rivers do his job. Afterall, he trusts him enough to give him a new five-year deal worth $50 million:
"(It will) probably (be) about the way I would work with the engineering organizations at Microsoft. I don't write software; I never have for a living. Do I ask a lot of questions? Yes. Do I get smarter and smart about what questions to ask? Yes. Do I bring an external point of view? Yes. Do I try to micromanage? No. And can't.
Ballmer went on, "I feel the same way on the basketball side. If I didn't have great faith and confidence in Doc, (it wouldn't work). But really, me saying, 'Should we play player A instead of player B?' No, I can't do stuff like that. That's what Doc is in the job for, and he's really good."
No more Apple
Ballmer did however confirm the rumors that he's planning to remove anything Apple from the Clippers organization, and he made a fair point explaining the decision:
"Look, I'm a homer," says Ballmer, who retired from Microsoft after 34 years in August. "When the Clippers buy (equipment)? Well, come on. That's kind of like my money. With my own money, I'm allowed to show favoritism."
I agree sir.
The price is right
Many people were questioning the $2million that Ballmer paid for the Clippers, saying it was too much money. Ballmer spent 8% of his wealth on it so it wont do him much financial damage but he insisted that the price was right and he has no regrets:
"The world breaks into two camps. People who are sure I must have paid too much, and people who are sure I didn't." Ballmer chuckled.
"The ones who speak up the most think I probably paid too much," he says. "But there are many smart people I know who would agree with me that I paid a reasonable price... I expect to own this until essentially I die, so that's 25, 30 years (from now). Will it perform as well as the stock market — 'total return,' as they like to say in the investment business? Yeah, I think I'll do as well as if I owned an index fund that represented the S&P 500. That's OK. I won't outperform it, but I'll do at least as well. ... And that's OK with me. That's a pretty good return."
Ballmer went on to discuss the notion that he wanted the Clippers to become America's Team, but was well aware that they had to conquer Los Angeles before they can conquer America:
"How did the Lakers get to be 'America's team'?" Ballmer says. "(It was) with Magic (Johnson) and championships in the '80s. That's what did it."
"I think we have an opportunity (to be America's team). But we've really got to light 'em up. We've got incredible superstar guys at the helm in Blake (Griffin) and Chris (Paul) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan). We're playing in a great market. We have this unfortunate situation (with Sterling), and yet all that's done for the forward-looking thing is put the Clippers on everybody's road map.
"Everybody wants this story to end with the guys who had to live through this succeeding!"
Weather the Clippers can become Americas Team is up for debate. But if one thing isn't up for debate, it's that Steve Ballmer is on a mission, and you wouldn't want to be the one to stop him accomplishing it.