Steve Ballmer has barely owned the L.A. Clippers for a weekend compared to Donald Sterling’s three decades long run of malfeasance and you’re already seeing things from the organization you would have never witnessed before.
Chris Paul and Ballmer sealed their new alliance with a hug and a handshake when they happened upon one another at a L.A. Kings game Friday night at Staples Center, and just like the Clippers finally seem of this world and century.
Imagine that, Sterling didn’t want “black guys at my games,” while Ballmer is actually willing to be seen talking to and even touching them.
Over the last several days, the billionaire tech tycoon has talked incessantly about pulling the Clips out of the stone-age to the point of making them “kind of America’s team” and you have to concede anyone cursed with having to endure 33-years of Donald Sterling at least deserves a chance to earn our adoration.
Ballmer paid a record-setting $2 billion for L.A. second hoops team, and here’s hoping he gets his money’s worth and then some for being wise enough not to make his first statements about the team he just purchased all about hoops.
“L.A. is one of the world’s great cities,” he said. “A city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness.”
He had me at inclusiveness, and how could he not coming on the heels of Sterling?
Even now, the 81-year-old real estate magnate vows not to bow out gracefully, suing the league for $1 billion over being forced to sell his team and the “violation of his constitutional rights.”
Ah, the irony of a man claiming such treatment when he’s so openly made a life of inflicting much harsher acts on so many others. A man sued for everything from sexual harassment to employee discrimination to housing discrimination. A man once fingered by former Hall of Fame GM Elgin Baylor for unending disrespect and by too many women in too many acts to count.
And now, finally, after so many years of profiting off such vitriol (even now Sterling’s profits will be astronomical as he only paid $12.5 million for the franchise) the Basketball Gods have stepped in to say enough is enough where Donald Sterling has been so heartlessly concerned.
Steve Ballmer now has a chance to be the man to right all those abhorrent wrongs, advance Donald Sterling’s neandertal Clippers to the point of being a model for all teams to emulate.
Times, they are a changing.