The Clippers aren’t Donald Sterling’s anymore. The team now belongs to Steve Ballmer.
And he’s pumped.
The NBA announced Tuesday that the $2 billion sale of the team to the former Microsoft CEO has closed, and the league has approved the deal. The NBA’s Board of Governors approved Ballmer as an owner last week. The vote to approve the sale and Ballmer as an owner was unanimous.
Armed with Judge Michael Levanas’ final order, Shelly Sterling was able to complete the deal without approval from her husband, banned ex-owner Donald Sterling, minutes after getting the court’s official ruling.
“Today, I’m just so darn fired up,” Ballmer said. “I’m thrilled. I’m excited. I’m pumped up.”
For Clipperd players, the sale closes a trying professional period when outside opinions from trusted friends and family left players confused as how to react.
Now, they can breathe.
“I think it’s a sigh of relief,” Jamal Crawford said. “We can just move on.”
Chris Paul, president of the player’s association, issued a statement through the team.
“I am very excited about Mr. Ballmer’s purchase of the Clippers,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to meet him and his excitement for the game of basketball and our team is going to be great for the league, the city of Los Angeles and Clipper fans everywhere.”
Crawford has a particularly close relationship with Ballmer, as the two have what Crawford described as “a close friendship.”
“It’s rare this opportunity presents itself,” Crawford said. “We’ve done things together charity-wise for years. It’s really cool.
“He knows me. And I know him.”
The team, which issued a simple statement of “We are one” in the aftermath of the Sterling scandal, debuted a re-designed website Tuesday, with the hashtag “ITSANEWDAY” prominently displayed.
The news ends speculation about possible boycotts and walkouts.