LOS ANGELES-Monday does not only signify the beginning of a new week, but in “Clipper Land”, it is a start of a new ownership. From CEO of Microsoft to owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer made his great debut to Clipper fans during a pep rally at the Staples Center.
Before stepping on stage, Ballmer was respectfully introduced by Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers. Rivers had the fans on their feet as they collectively chanted, “Steve! Ballmer!” The new found owner rushed through the hyped fans to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” giving out high fives, fist bumps and yelling out, “Let’s go!” as he proudly wore his blue, red and white Clippers hat.
“I couldn’t be more honored, excited or fired up to be here!” Ballmer proclaimed at the top of his lungs.
Taking heed to the chant given by Rivers prior, he too took initiative in a chant with the fans. “I love Larry,” after the O’Brien Trophy that is given to NBA champions.
Ballmer paid a whopping $2 billion for the team who has a history of losing but he solely believes in his investment and the “Larrys” to come.
“We’re looking forward. Everything is about looking forward, from today on,” he said. “We made lemonade out of lemons and still won 57 games last year and got pretty darn deep in the playoffs, but not what we wanted.”
Ballmer jokingly admitted to not knowing how to play basketball, but loves the game as well as the city of Los Angeles. He has no intentions on moving the Clippers to his hometown, Seattle.
“We’re going to be bold. Bold means taking risks,” he said. “We’re going to be optimistic. We’re going to be hard-core. We are going to get better every day! Nothing gets in our way, boom! The hard-core Clippers, that’s us.”
During an open question segment of the rally, a long time season ticket holder by the name of Michael Marks had the chance to ask Ballmer what kinds of changes fans can expect to see over the next 26 years. In response, Ballmer said, “I’ll boldly say that the Clippers will win many, many, many more Larrys (Larry O’Briens) in the next 26 (years) than in the last 26.”
Rivers said, “My sense is he’s excited about making the team a winner. From a coaching standpoint, that’s pretty nice. With Steve’s leadership, we have this opportunity to be a great organization.”
As for ex-owner Donald Sterling, he’s the least of Rivers’ concerns. During the press conference followed by the pep rally, Doc Rivers said, “I think at some point, you always have to move on. I can’t tell someone when to forgive or move on, but I have. As a coach, I think about how we have to stop Kevin Durant.”
From the excitement of Ballmer’s voice, the confidence Rivers has in his boss, the positivity from the fans and the passion from the players, ‘It is truly a new day.’