Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers from the Sterling family has been lauded throughout the basketball world, and not only because he's never been recorded making extremely racist comments to his girlfriend and subsequently painted himself as the victim in the whole ordeal. Donald Sterling has been deemed one of the worst owners in sports for decades for reasons apart from his personal views and habits. Ballmer has already promised a new era and committed himself to building an organization worth emulating. It's still early, but fans have reason to think they can be proud of this team.
On Monday, Ballmer introduced himself to fans and the community during a welcome rally at Staples Center. In keeping with his style from his days at Microsoft, Ballmer was just a wee bit intense. Check out this video of him interacting with fans and addressing the crowd:
I mean ... this is a lot to take in. While using "Lose Yourself" for the introduction of a 58-year-old man in khakis and a button-down shirt is sadly standard operating procedure in 2014, it is rare for that same man to show up with the persona of a professional wrestler who goes by the name "Angry Dad." Ballmer's standard voice throughout is an aggressive shout, and at many times his voice strains in a manner similar to that of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. He makes Mark Cuban look like Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon. (If you don't know how Herb Simon acts in public, it's because no one does.)
Ballmer acted similarly at Microsoft sales rallies and events for years, to the point where there are YouTube mixes, not just clips, of his greatest hits. Clippers fans must hope that Ballmer's excitement over owning the team will not lead to another Zune-like failure, but at least he's showing some commitment to the cause. After so many years of Donald Sterling's simultaneously thrifty and uncomfortably hands-on ownership, it might be nice just to get someone who seems to want to make the franchise a world-class outfit.
Let's just hope that, if the Clippers do end up winning a title during Ballmer's tenure, he doesn't spike the Larry O'Brien Trophy like a football. It might make sense for the league to prepare.
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