Steve Ballmer Rumors
Not everyone thought Ballmer was crazy to write that big check. “He got a bargain,” says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the first majority NBA owner who made his fortune in the dotcom boom. (Microsoft’s Paul Allen bought the Portland Trailblazers in 1988.) When Cuban bought the downtrodden Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million, he was merely a speculator, but he became a go-to resource for other owners who were looking toward the future. “The league was always open-minded toward tech but hadn’t really implemented much,” Cuban says. “I got all the questions.”
Ballmer says the NBA has supported his drive to experiment. Another league, like the National Football League—the $13 billion behemoth that dominates the American sports landscape—might not have. “There’s no local broadcast for the NFL, so how do you experiment?” Ballmer says. “They’re in very good shape, but because everything is national, they have to think about tests and experimentation differently. Baseball has many games and local TV, but most baseball viewers are over 55. That’s maybe not the crowd you want to experiment with.”
In the past few days, there has been a sort of dunk-off going around the NBA among owners and coaches. On Sunday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens threw down a dunk with the help of a trampoline. On Monday night, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer also slammed in a trampoline dunk during halftime. Now, on Tuesday, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera posted his own dunk video sans trampoline.
Steve Ballmer is the world’s richest sports team owner with a net worth of $23.5 billion. The longtime CEO of Microsoft MSFT -0.82%, who left the company in 2014, paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014 when the NBA forced the sale of the team after racist statements made by then-owner Donald Sterling. It was 3 ½ times the previous record sale price for an NBA franchise.
Ballmer dunked. The 21st-richest man in America (per the Forbes 400) took a basketball, ran from midcourt, jumped off a trampoline (he almost missed) and slammed home the ball with two hands. In doing so, he sent the sellout crowd home with vouchers for a free pair of hi-top red Converse Chuck Taylors, because …
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Clippers second-year owner Steve Ballmer? Rivers: “He’s been phenomenal. He’s so supportive. Wants to win, like we all do. Involved, but lets us do our job. He is a great spirit to have in our organization and he’s the smartest man in the room every time he walks in the room. I just listen to him. I love his business.”