Microsoft ex-CEO Steve Ballmer plans to purchase Los Angeles Clippers

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Steve Ballmer

Ballmer might be eyeing to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers. Should fans be worried?
(Photo : Dennis Hamilton)

The forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers has left no shortage of interested buyers, with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly having interest in purchasing the team.

The sale was mandated by the NBA after owner Donald Sterling’s racial remarks that were recovered from an audio recording. Sterling was banned from all NBA activities on May 29.

Reports surfaced that Ballmer was in Los Angeles to meet with Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling’s wife and the one who he gave authority to for the management of the sale. 

Ballmer, with hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, came to close to purchasing the Sacramento Kings last year, with plans of moving the franchise to Seattle with a brand new sports arena. The NBA committee prevented the $625 million deal from pushing through.

Ballmer was also a part of an investment group that tried but failed to keep the Supersonics franchise in Seattle, which moved to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder.

Earlier this month, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ballmer expressed his interest in purchasing an NBA team. 

“I have nothing definitive to say. Am I right on top of what’s going on there? Absolutely I am. I love basketball, and I’d love to participate at some point in the NBA. If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it. I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point,” said Ballmer.

However, Ballmer added that if he was able to purchase the Clippers, he will not be moving the team to Seattle.

“If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles. I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive.”

If Ballmer is able to purchase the Clippers, he will be the second Microsoft topman to become an NBA owner after co-founder Paul Allen purchased the Portland Trailblazers in 1988. Mark Cuban, another technology investor, acquired the Dallas Mavericks in 2000.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said that he is doing all that he can to terminate Sterling’s ownership. There will be a June 3 hearing in New York City regarding the issue with the other 29 NBA team owners to further discuss the matter.

Other names that have been linked as potential buyers of the Clippers include Oprah Winfrey, a group led by former Clipper Grant Hill, and separate groups led by former NBA players Yao Ming and Magic Johnson.

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