He’s probably the most important man in the history of Microsoft not named Bill Gates. The company’s first non-Gates CEO, Steve Ballmer was the man behind the Microsoft Surface and one of the people fighting to bring the company into the 21st Century. He made his mark with the company, then stepped aside for the new CEO. Flush with cash and looking to do something with his billions of dollars, Ballmer did what every rich tech CEO has been doing since Mark Cuban: he’s buying a professional basketball team. Steve Ballmer is going to buy the Los Angeles Clippers to the tune of $2 billion dollars.
“I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,” read a statement released by Shelly Sterling through the San Francisco PR firm G.F. Bunting. “We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success.”
Of course, the hard part of this deal wasn’t Ballmer finding the money between his couch cushions, but getting Clippers owner and racist Donald Sterling to sell the team. Fortunately, all Shelley Sterling and the rest of the owners had to do was pull an end run around the old man by having him declared mentally incompetent. That puts the team in the hands of the Sterling Family Trust, and that allows Shelley to sell the team without getting in the way of her estranged husband’s 50%-ish share of the team. No need to weep for Sterling, however; he’s turned a $12 million investment from 1981 into $2 billion (which looks to be like $1.6 billion after taxes).
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