Steve Ballmer immediately noticed how terribly Clippers were run before he was owner
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought the team in May of 2014 for a whopping two billion dollars. The Clippers were in the midst of a terrible scandal in which their owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape using racist language. Ballmer, who had no experience with the sports world prior to the acquisition, was shocked with the state he found the franchise in:
I’m not sure I knew what I was getting into, good, bad and ugly, when I bought it,” Ballmer said. “I’ve probably never even lived in a place where there was a franchise that had been run any worse than the Clippers had been run. Or certainly where the ownership was less respected.”
The Clippers have had little success as an NBA franchise. Since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1984, they have made the playoffs only 11 times.
Of those 11 times, they lost in the first round seven times. The farthest the franchise has gotten is the Conference Semi-Finals, most recently in 2015.
Ballmer and the Clippers have a chance to change all that poor history this season. For the first time, the Clippers are genuinely viewed as championship contenders. Behind new acquisitions Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the team is expected to make a deep playoff run.
Perhaps Ballmer’s deep pockets, determination, and winners-only have finally shaped a Clippers team that can accomplish the ultimate NBA goal: a championship.