Enthusiastic almost beyond belief, Steve Ballmer officially introduced himself not only to the Los Angeles Clippers fan base, but also the entire city of L.A. at the Clippers fan festival on Monday. For a team haunted by the inappropriateness of its previous owner, Ballmer’s valor and eagerness is the start of a new era.
At the rally, head coach Doc Rivers told a story about Clippers fans – in the past – being embarrassed or even afraid to publicly support the team.
“I would go to a restaurant and the guy would cozy up to me and he would whisper, ‘Hey, I’m a Clipper fan,'” Rivers said.
The whispers are long gone, with the proof being Ballmer and the fan festival. Anyone with a basic understanding of the NBA and its history would have a difficult time fathoming that the Clippers would get 4,500 fans out to an event at Staples Center on weekday in Los Angeles.
Ballmer has basically been screaming for 15 minutes….fans standing and screaming back…never seen anything like this
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) August 18, 2014
“When he came through the crowd, I literally had goose bumps,” Griffin said following the event. “I don’t know if there’s one good word to describe him. I know all our guys are excited about the energy he brings. It’s completely different.”
With Sterling, fans rarely had any insight into the owner’s thought process when it came to the makeup of the roster. More often than not, all discussion surrounding Sterling dealt with his financial moderation and refusal to pay the big bucks for quality players.
“We’re looking forward,” Ballmer said with confidence. “Everything is about looking forward.”
“We’re going to be bold. Bold means taking chances,” Ballmer added. “We’re going to be optimistic. We’re going to be hard-core. Nothing gets in our way, boom! The hard-core Clippers, that’s us.”
With the energy level surrounding the team at an optimum level now, the Clippers have no more distractions stopping them from taking the next step towards an NBA title.
Photo Credit: Ville Mannikko/Bloomberg