Hoping to put the Donald Sterling saga in the past, Ballmer will usher in a new era for the Clippers, after purchasing the team for $2 billion in August. The former software exec told CNBC that, despite paying a record price for an NBA team, he thinks it was a smart investment.
"Can the Clippers make money?" Ballmer asked. "Yes. Can they make more money than any other team in the NBA? Yes, [we] should be in the upper echelon ... and particularly in Los Angeles, where this is a scarce property. This will appreciate. I expect to own this [team] as long as I'm alive. So we're talking, let's hope, 25, 30 years."
A California court in August ruled that Shelly Sterling, wife of ousted Clippers owner Donald Sterling, had the authority to sell the team on behalf of the family trust. Sterling was stripped of his ownership by the NBA after making racist remarks that became public. He had owned the team since 1981, when he put down $12.5 million for the Clippers.
Ballmer was one of at least six serious bidders vying for ownership of the Clippers in what became a high-profile bidding war between everyone from Grant Hill to David Geffen.