Now that he’s out as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer has a lot of extra time on his hands. Enough to, say, own a sports team. And what a world we live in, that Ballmer running the Los Angeles Clippers would, for him, mean a move to a less struggling franchise.
According to TMZ, which must have an incredible source deeply entrenched in the lives of the Sterlings, Shelly Sterling met on Sunday afternoon with Ballmer to talk about the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. Shelly Sterling is now in charge of the sale of the team, power given to her voluntarily by her ostensible husband and 1830s Antebellum South transplant Donald Sterling. The Sterlings are being forced to sell the team by the NBA and new commissioner Adam Silver after the now infamous tape containing racist comments made by Donald Sterling was leaked, which, considering Sterling’s rich history in the field of racism, was a lot like nailing Al Capone for tax evasion.
Ballmer, now without Microsoft to worry about, can certainly afford the team, with a bankroll of about $20 billion. Forbes puts the team’s value at $575 million, but Forbes’ valuation for the recently sold Milwaukee Bucks was well below what that team actually sold for, which makes the Clippers seem to be a lock for a billion dollar sale – especially now that, for the first time in Clippers history, the team is actually good.
Of course, Ballmer is still located in Seattle, which is inevitably going to make people wonder about the return of the Sonics. The Seattle Supersonics, a classic NBA franchise, was hauled off to Oklahoma City by then-new owner Clay Bennett in 2008 to become the Thunder. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ballmer stated that, should he become interested in the Clippers, he would not try to move the team. Then again, that’s what Clay Bennett said when he bought the Sonics, too.