As of 2020, there are 2,153 billionaires in the entire world. Not one of them is as excitable, passionate, or downright wild as Steve Ballmer. All you need for proof of this is some video of Ballmer when the Clippers take a lead late in the fourth quarter of a ballgame.
If you didn’t know who he was, you’d think Ballmer was just a sweaty crazy dude who was the Clippers biggest fan. And while you might be right that he is the team’s biggest supporter, he’s far from the average fan.
Ballmer is one of the richest people in the world, clocking in at a net worth of just over 50 billion dollars.
How did Steve Ballmer get so much money that he can casually drop 2 billion on an NBA team? It all started off with a little housing luck when Ballmer headed off to Harvard.
When Ballmer started school, he was only a few doors down from a pretty recognizable name: Bill Gates.
With a little convincing plus the offer of some shares, Gates convinced Ballmer to join him at his little start-up company. Ballmer was reluctant to leave business school, but he figured it was worth a shot. He became the 30th employee of Gate’s startup, called Microsoft.
Ironically, Ballmer’s parents were pissed he gave up business school to join this no-name company. They figured computers and this whole “technology” thing was a passing fad. It’s a prettyyyy good bet that they were happy their son didn’t listen to them in the end.
The shares alone that Gates awarded Ballmer for joining his team would make him richer beyond belief. By 2015, their value had reached 22.2 billion dollars. That’s already almost half his total worth! Just from dropping out of school and working with his buddy.
Because he is currently the biggest shareholder at Microsoft, Ballmer’s wealth is only multiplying. Just by sitting on his couch, Ballmer received a check every three months in 2015 that cashed out 103 million dollars. That number is only rising every year.
And Microsoft isn’t the only investment that is paying off for Ballmer.
The billionaire invested a company called Second Spectrum, an analytics firm that uses augmented video to break down NBA, NFL, and even soccer content and analyze the effectiveness of plays in real-time. The NBA is on the verge of making a six-year, 250 million dollar deal with the company.
Ballmer’s best investment after Microsoft has got to be his most high profile one: The acquisition of the Los Angeles Clippers.
When Steve Ballmer purchased the Clips in 2014, Forbes had the team valued at 575 million dollars. But Ballmer has a knack for predicting when things will rise and value, so he shelled out 2 billion dollars for them.
Fast-forward almost 6 years. Ballmer has almost hit the nail on the head with his evaluation of the team. In 2019, the team is valued at 2.2 billion dollars, so Ballmer has actually MADE money after paying what most thought was an extraordinary sum.
While there’s no way he could’ve predicted that the Clips were gonna land Kawhi and PG, Ballmer knew he was ready to spend money to make money. It’s the whole reason he’s worth 50 billion today.
Now imagine the Clippers win the championship in 2019. The team will be worth even more, and Ballmer will get a few extra million in his pocket. Even if they lose, the billionaire has shown he’s ready to throw more cash at future free agents to improve his team even further.
Between a great business sense, a little housing luck, and a fanatical drive to be the best, Steve Ballmer made himself one of the richest men in the world.
Now we’ll see if some of his emotion can leak into his star player.