If you are trying to envision the mood around the Clippers and the NBA since the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion became official today, well, picture the “ding dong the witch is dead” seen from the Wizard of Oz. Just with taller people doing the singing and dancing.
(Not that Donald Sterling will not still be a nuisance with his lawsuits, but his days of owning the team are over, no judge is going to undo that sale.)
While the sale was expected the reactions still have been pouring in, so we’re bringing you some of them.
Chris Paul: “I am very excited about Mr. Ballmer’s purchase of the Clippers. I’ve had a chance to meet him and his excitement for the game of basketball and our team is going to be great for the league, the city of Los Angeles and Clipper fans everywhere.
Blake Griffin: “Today is a great day for the Clipper organization and fans everywhere. I look forward to having Mr. Ballmer as an owner and continuing our pursuit of a championship.”
DeAndre Jordan: “I cannot wait to play this season knowing Mr. Ballmer is our owner. Today was a great day for the Clippers.”
Jamal Crawford: “Living in the Seattle area, I am very familiar with Mr. Ballmer. He will bring so many great things to the Clippers and the NBA. I am excited to get started.”
As for Steve Ballmer himself, the man who owns the team, he again shot down any notion that he would move the team to Seattle. Ballmer was part of the group that tried to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, but this is different. As he noted previously, he just paid a premium for a team that would lose half its value overnight if moved.
Ballmer also had an interesting perspective on that $2 billion sale price that had everyone doing a double take (including other owners), speaking with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
“I feel like I paid a price I’m excited about. It obviously was a price that was negotiated and I feel very good about it. It’s not a cheap price, but when you’re used to looking at tech companies with huge risk, no earnings and huge multiples, this doesn’t look like the craziest thing I’ve ever acquired. It’s my own personal money, and you’re just as careful with your own money as you are with your shareholders money. And compared to some of the public traded companies, there are great companies out there like Amazon with absolutely no earnings and a huge market caps and lots of risk. There’s much less risk. There’s real earnings in this business. There’s real upside opportunity. So compared to the things I looked at in tech, this was a reasonable purchase and it’s one I’m really excited about.”