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Volume 24 No. 158
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Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft BOD In Part To Focus On Clippers

Clippers Owner STEVE BALLMER yesterday "shed the list of his management ties" to Microsoft "by stepping down" from its BOD. Microsoft CEO SATYA NADELLA said Ballmer would leave, "effective immediately." Ballmer: "Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off." A company spokesperson said that Ballmer "was not asked to leave the board" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/20). Ballmer indicated he stepped down because of "his duties" as Clippers owner. He said, "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time." He still "has a significant financial stake in Microsoft's future." His current holdings amount to about 4% of Microsoft's total shares, valued at $15.1B at yesterday's U.S. market close (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/20). Meanwhile, in Seattle, Rob Smith wrote nobody "knows what kind of an owner Ballmer will be, though he had some very public missteps as Microsoft CEO." But owning an NBA franchise "is much different than running a global corporation," and "regardless of his approach, he's bound to be better than DONALD STERLING." Ballmer's enthusiasm "is infectious" and "exactly what the NBA needs for one of its historically downtrodden franchises" (, 8/19).

I'M SO EXCITED: Ballmer made headlines with his energetic appearance at a Clippers fan rally Monday, and he said, “I get energy from talking to people who are excited about something. The fans were excited. I've never done anything in sports, and I fed off the energy. DOC (RIVERS) got me fired up, actually, the crowd got me fired up, and it’s just exciting. It's an exciting opportunity. We do have such a great team and so much opportunity, it's kind of easy to get carried away." Clippers F BLAKE GRIFFIN said, "I've never seen an owner of a team come out and greet a crowd like that and be kind of that open about everything and just have that much excitement. So that was crazy. It really was crazy and I think that all my teammates felt the same way.” Clippers G CHRIS PAUL: "We both got goose bumps. We felt like we had a game tonight. If you can't play for an owner like that, then something's wrong with you.” Meanwhile, Ballmer discussed how he would voice his opinion on league matters despite being a rookie owner, saying, “I'm not a wilting flower. ... I'm an energetic guy, I'm a positive guy. If I have something to say, I'll probably tell people I have something to say" ("NBA GameTime," NBA TV, 8/19).

PLAYING IT FOR LAUGHS: Ballmer's performance Monday was touched on during several late-night talk shows last night. NBC’s Jimmy Fallon said, "The Clippers' new owner, former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, promised fans that the team will win a NBA Championship. He says he has a great strategy for rebuilding the team: Control-alt-delete. Actually, Steve Ballmer spoke to fans at the Clippers' rally yesterday. It's hard to tell, but I think that he was pretty excited about his new team.” After showing a clip from the rally, Fallon said, “Then the Clippers fans were like, ‘Well, at least the racist guy was quiet’" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 8/19). Ballmer was the inspiration for CBS' David Letterman Top Ten list last night, which was titled, “Top Ten Signs Your Team Owner Is Nuts.” Letterman said of Ballmer, “This guy is in a different gear. He is really high powered, aggressive, energetic and some say nuts" (“Late Show,” CBS, 8/19).

Last night's Top Ten list was “Top Ten Signs Your Team Owner Is Nuts.” Letterman said, “Steve Ballmer, the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was introduced to thousands of fans yesterday at the L.A. Staples Center" (“Late Show,” CBS, 8/19).

10) “Insists on showering with the players.”
9) “Halftime show: Burning Tires.”
8) “To provide arena security, hired Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department.”
7) “Hints to the press that he’s dating A-ROD.”
6) “Favorite president: JAMES K. POLK.”
5) “Parks his car on the court.”
4) “Traded star player for three million loose cigarettes.”
3) “Promises team will defeat ISIS.”
2) “Attending post-game parties, wearing ‘Nothing But Net.’”
1) “Is penalized for holding himself.”