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#pounditMonday, January 17, 2022

Articles tagged: Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer has trash talk for Lakers fans

If there are two things that Steve Ballmer likes taking shots at, it’s Apple products and the Los Angeles Lakers fanbase. This week saw him get in a bit more of the latter.

The LA Clippers owner spoke on Friday with Bill Plaschke of the LA Times and took a few digs at Laker fans.

“Why did so many in the town cheer against us?” said Ballmer. “At some points it gets like this. For a long time the Clippers were nothing, so nobody had to pay attention. For people who had been Lakers fans forever, there’s no threat. We’ll, we’ve gotten pretty good. We’re actually serious. You can see we’re serious. We’re not the old screwed-up franchise in town. We’re getting our act together. I think because we’re getting our act together, it gets people like, ‘C’mon, you can’t get your act together. It’s just my team. My team is the only one that matters!’

“I have been surprised by animus from Lakers fans,” Ballmer added. “My message has sort of been, “Why, you don’t have enough confidence in your guys? There are 29 other teams you have to beat to win a championship. But you must be pretty worried about us. The Lakers are a great organization, a great franchise. But Laker fans, you must be a little worried about us.”

The last couple of years have marked perhaps the first time in NBA history that both the Lakers and Clippers have been contenders at the same time. As such, it has become apparent that Laker fans care more about the Clippers than they care to admit. Many of them were extremely mad online when the Clippers broke ground on their new state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood, Calif., and some even cheered Kawhi Leonard’s injury last postseason.

Los Angeles has always been a Lakers town, but moving to their own arena will help the Clippers finally escape out of the Lakers’ shadow. Ballmer can sense the shifting power balance as well, which is why he has gotten in shots at the Lakers before.

Report: Clippers owner consulted Paul George, Kawhi Leonard before firing Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was the one who made the decision to part ways with head coach Doc Rivers this week, but he did not make the move without first talking to his star players.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk shared some details on Tuesday from the days leading up to the divorce between Rivers and the Clippers. Ballmer and Rivers had multiple phone conversations over the course of more than a week following L.A.’s collapse against the Denver Nuggets, and Ballmer was left wondering if the franchise needed a new voice. Before he made a final decision, he spoke with president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and team consultant Jerry West. Ballmer also reportedly sought opinions from several players, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

It’s unclear if Leonard and/or George vouched for Rivers, but Shelburne and Youngmisuk were told that nothing either play said changed Ballmer’s mind.

Ballmer bought the Clippers in 2014 and admitted he knew very little about running an NBA team at the time. He vowed to take his time and learn about the organization before making any major changes, but those close to him felt it was a matter of time before he put his stamp on the franchise.

The Clippers twice blew 3-1 leads in playoff series under Rivers. The collapse against Denver in Orlando was troubling enough, but the remarks made by Rivers and Clippers players after the series are likely what cost the coach his job.

George and Lou Williams pointed to chemistry as an issue for the Clippers. George also made some head-scratching comments about the team not having a championship-or-bust mentality despite their huge offseason moves.

Rivers made some strategic decisions in the postseason that reportedly left players scratching their heads, but the chemistry issues were likely far more of a concern for Ballmer. Time will tell if the decision to fire Rivers was the right one. We have already heard of some big-name candidates who could potentially replace him.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend – you can buy it here:

Steve Ballmer has lofty goals for Clippers’ new arena

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to build a state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood that would open in 2024, and team owner Steve Ballmer has some incredibly high expectations for the complex.

The project, which has been named the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center, took a big step toward breaking ground on Tuesday when its environmental impact report was unanimously approved. According to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, Ballmer told the Inglewood City Council during a video presentation that he envisions the complex being “the single greatest place in the world for basketball.”

The Clippers’ current lease at Staples Center expires in the fall of 2024, and they are hoping to have their new arena open by then. There had been rumors at one point that Ballmer could move the team to a new city, but that is not going to happen.

When completed, the Inglewood complex should be something like SoFi Stadium, which is where the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will play and located not far from the site. Ballmer had huge plans when he bought the Clippers in 2014, and he is making them a reality. We know he doesn’t enjoy sharing a town with the Lakers, so building a new arena will help him distance his team from them in many ways.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend – you can buy it here:

Steve Ballmer nearing deal to purchase The Forum in Inglewood

Steve Ballmer Clippers

The LA Clippers are about to clear one major roadblock in their efforts to build a new arena complex.

ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz reported Sunday that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is in advanced talks to purchase The Forum in Inglewood, which is currently owned by Madison Square Garden Co. Ballmer and the city of Inglewood have been embroiled in a messy legal battle with MSG Co. for the last two years over Ballmer’s parcel of land, which sits roughly a mile away from The Forum and upon which he has planned to build a new home arena for the Clippers.

Arvovitz adds that selling The Forum, the old home of the Los Angeles Lakers and now one of the biggest concert venues in the state, proved to be the path of least resistance for both sides, which have already spent tens of millions of dollars in legal fees. The Forum will also continue to operate until a Clippers arena is fully constructed.

The Clippers’ current lease at Staples Center expires in 2024, and Ballmer has been vocal about his desire to have the team forge their own path with their own arena instead of continuing to share one with the Lakers. The plans for the new complex in Inglewood are pretty grandiose, and having The Forum under their control will definitely make the Clippers’ lives a lot easier.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt:

Steve Ballmer says Clippers are not moving to Seattle

Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer has no plans to fill the void that the SuperSonics left behind in his home city.

On Thursday, the LA Clippers unveiled the first details of their planned new complex in Inglewood, Calif. In addition to a new arena, the complex will feature a number of other facilities, including team offices and retail stores, and will be funded privately without taxpayer dollars. The project has a targeted completion date of fall 2024, which is when the Clippers’ current lease at Staples Center in Los Angeles expires.

In the wake of the unveiling, Ballmer, the former Microsoft executive, stressed that he would not be moving the team to his hometown of Seattle.

“We’re not moving,” he said of he and wife Connie, per Andrew Greif of the LA Times. “And neither is our basketball team. Let’s get that out of the way.”

The Clippers have been in Los Angeles since 1984 and have played at Staples Center since it opened in 1999. They have third priority on the arena schedule however (behind the NHL’s Kings and the rival Lakers), and Ballmer has said that he does not like sharing a town with the Lakers.

Moving to Inglewood instead of Seattle in a few seasons will help the Clippers fully create their own identity independent of the Lakers’ shadow while also staying true to their Angeleno core.

Watch: Blake Griffin snubs Steve Ballmer in return to Los Angeles

Blake Griffin Pistons

It’s pretty clear that there are still some hard feelings from Blake Griffin toward the Los Angeles Clippers.

Griffin made his long-awaited return to Los Angeles on Saturday, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic noted that the Detroit Pistons forward clearly snubbed Clippers owner Steve Ballmer during pregame warmups.

Fox Sports Detroit caught video of the non-interaction.

Griffin has made pretty clear over the past year that there is some lingering bitterness over how his trade went down, and he showed it in their meeting in Detroit last year as well. This sets the stage for what might be an awkward and frosty affair on Saturday afternoon.

Blake Griffin has not spoken with Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer since Clippers trade

Blake Griffin Pistons

Blake Griffin was traded away by the LA Clippers nearly a year ago, but some of the wounds still appear to be lingering.

In an in-depth piece that ran Tuesday on the All-Star big’s blockbuster move to the Detroit Pistons and subsequent adjustment, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz revealed that Griffin has not spoken to any of the Clippers’ principals since being dealt. This includes president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, who spoke with Griffin the morning of the trade to inform him of substantive discussions with Detroit and subsequently called Griffin upon the deal being finalized as well, only for Griffin to decline to answer. Also in that category are head coach Doc Rivers, who called Griffin ten minutes after Frank, and owner Steve Ballmer, who called later, with both attempts also going unanswered.

“I get it,” Griffin was quoted as saying. “Basketball is a business and they said what they had to say at the time, and that’s what I wanted to do. The only thing I wish is that [the trade] had gone down differently.”

Griffin, who will return to play the Clippers in Los Angeles for the first time since being traded, also said that he had no regrets about re-signing with the team two summers ago. He furthemore added that does not hold a grudge about their elaborate (and now notorious) “Clipper For Life” pitch.

The 29-year-old spent his first eight career seasons with the Clippers and helping springboard the franchise from laughingstock to one of the league’s top attractions. The trade that sent Griffin to Detroit last January netted the Clippers players like Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Boban Marjanovic, all of whom have aided their impressive run to the West’s No. 4 seed this season. Griffin, meanwhile, is averaging a career-high 25.3 points (plus 8.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game) on a Pistons team that is currently ninth in the East.

Griffin did already face the Clippers for the first time last February (albeit in Detroit), and the iciness over the trade was apparent then as well.

Steve Ballmer takes shot at Sixers over The Process

Steve Ballmer

Rather than trusting The Process, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is making it clear that he very much doubts it.

Speaking with fans and season ticket holders at an event this week, Ballmer said that the Clippers would not be tanking for a high draft pick this season and got in a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers while he was at it.

“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” said Ballmer of bottoming out, per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years.

“I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in,” he continued. “How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

To be fair, the Sixers only actively tanked for four years as part of The Process, the brainchild of former general manager Sam Hinkie. The gambit also helped them put together an elite young core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, and others, a group that won 52 games last season. But the cost of that was a combined 253 losses over those four seasons and a totally unwatchable product on their floor for their fans for all that time.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are now facing a talent vacuum that could see the losses pile up for them in a similar fashion over the next few years. However, Ballmer has always been one to try to keep his team as relevant as possible, so a Hinkie-esque total free fall seems quite unlikely for them.

Clippers owner would have backed kneeling players during anthem

Steve Ballmer

No NBA players have knelt during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick began doing it in the NFL, but one owner would have backed any players who wanted to.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer told Yahoo Finance that, had any of his players wished to kneel during the anthem, he would have backed them.

“I think on that one, we had clear rules. I would have supported our guys, I would have been okay with whatever they wanted to do,” Ballmer said, via Daniel Roberts of Yahoo Finance. “But the rule was clear that you need to stand for the national anthem, and if you don’t, there’s consequences, and our players all knew that.”

Indeed, the NBA has long had a rule in place that dictates players must stand for the anthem, and no effort has been made to change it. Ballmer believes that’s because players have better ways to make their feelings known, such as the political action speech made by four star players to open the 2016 ESPYs.

“I think our players have better avenues to express themselves,” Ballmer said. “I thought [that speech] was awesome … Our players are adults, they have a right to an opinion, and they have a right to participate in the political debate.”

Ballmer and the Clippers have unique perspective here, as he took control of the franchise following predecessor Donald Sterling’s racist tirade. In that sense, his stance isn’t a surprise.

Steve Ballmer loses to Joey Chesnut in hot dog eating contest

Steve Ballmer Joey Chestnut

Steve Ballmer is not your traditional professional sports team owner. Far from it.

For his latest act, the Los Angeles Clippers owner went up against competitive eater Joey Chestnut in a hot dog eating competition after the first quarter of his team’s game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. You can guess who won.

But the fun didn’t end there! Ballmer then shot giveaways to the fans out of a hot dog cannon.

It certainly is a lot better to have him as your team’s owner than the racist stooge who came before him.