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[July 11, 2014]
M.A.P. [Chicago Jewish Star (IL)]
(Chicago Jewish Star (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) AFTER THREATENING to sue the NBA for $1 billion, at the end of last month DONALD STERLING ag reed to allow the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team before reversing his decision several days later (which is where the saga stands as of June 10).
Sterling, who received a lifetime ban from the NBA after a recording of him mak ing racist comments in a private conversation were made public, purchased the team for $12.5 million in 1981 (JEWISH STAR, May 16).
As The New York Times reported on May 31, with the $2 billion offer from former Microsoftchief ex - ecutive officer STEVE BALL - MER, Sterling would see a 15,900% return on his 33- year investment. Not a bad little retirement fund.
Sterling was found by experts to be mentally incapacitated, allowing his estranged wife SHELLY STERLING to become sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust and sell the team to Ballmer.
It remains to be seen how Sterling's lawsuit will affect the sale of the team.
PART OF THE REASON the Clippers received such a high offer is due to the rarity of a major-market sports fran chise going up for sale, bringing in competing bidders. A group led by music and film mogul DAVID GEF FEN, and including OP - RAH WIN FREY, put in a $1.6 billion bid.
The team that has sold for the highest am ount in the NBA was the Milwauk ee Bucks, selling for $550 million earlier this year. But that's Mil wau k ee; this is LA.
The highest amount any Am - erican sports team has been sold for is the Los Angeles Dodgers, for $2.15 billion in 2012.
Prior to the bids, Forbes had severely undervalued the Clip - pers, at $600 million.
But with several groups making serious bids for the team, Ballmer may have wanted to submit a bid high enough to win him the team without dragging out the process.
While an executive at Microsoft, Ballmer had em ployed similar tactics. For instance, Microsoftpaid $8.5 million to acquire Skype, more than three times the amount it had gone for a few years prior.
The Clippers are also improving as a team, after decades of being a doormat. They advanced to the Western Conference semifinals this season, behind All-Stars CHRIS PAUL and BLAKE GRIFFIN, and are in position to be a title contender for years to come.
Ballmer had attempted to purchase an NBA squad last year, when he bid on the Sac ra mento Kings, with a plan to move them to Seattle to replace the SuperSonics (who were mov ed to Ok la - homa City in 2008).
The NBA owners block - ed the purchase, wanting the Kings to remain in Sacramento.
Ballmer has stated that he will not attempt to move the Clippers to Seattle.
BALLMER, 58, GAINED his vast wealth from the Microsoftstock options he had been accruing since 1980, when he became one of the software company's first employees, and its first business manager.
In 2000, he became the second CEO in the company's history.
Microsoft's second-lar g - est individual shareholder, Ballmer is estimated to be worth $20.3 billion. On Forbes' list of the richest people in the world, he is currently ranked 35th.
Ballmer was born in Detroit and raised in Far - mington Hills, Michigan, to a Jewish mother whose family was originally from Belarus, and an immigrant Swiss father.
He lives in Hunts Point, Washington, with his wife, Connie. They have three sons.
As an applied mathematics major at Harvard, he befriended hall-mate and future Microsoftfoun - der BILL GATES.
Ballmer resigned as MicrosoftCEO in Febru - ary. He continues to serve on the board and still owns about 4% of the company.
In November 2012, shortly after the launch of the Windows 8 software operating system, Ballmer made his third visit to Is - rael, attending events org - anized by MicrosoftIs rael, and meeting with Is raeli entrepreneurs and developers.
He also visited Israel in 2004 and 2008, to assist in the opening of Microsoft's new research and development center in Herzliya Pituach.
BALLMER IS A BIG, vocal basketball fan, and there is a hope he'll bring a passion to his ownership rivaling that of Dallas Mav ericks owner MARK CUBAN.
If, that is, Sterling's disruptive hijinks don't prevent the sale.
Ballmer the Baller Steve Ballmer (leaning forward at a Seattle Super-Sonics game in 2005) is a huge basketball fan and the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
By AARON WERTHEIMER ASSISTANT EDITOR (c) 2014 Chicago Jewish Star
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