An "aspirational view" of what the Los Angeles Clippers can become drove Steve Ballmer's record $2-billion bid to purchase the franchise, a person familiar with Ballmer's bidding stance told The Times on Friday.
The person added that Ballmer, who finalized the deal Thursday just before midnight, valued the Clippers in a similar manner to how he would assess a technology company with great potential. Ballmer is former chief executive of Microsoft.
Ballmer, the person said, felt the steep price is justified by his view of what the team can become in future years, and viewed the potential acquisition as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.
The previous highest sale price for an NBA team was the $550 million paid for the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this month.
Ballmer's bid, without any partners, emerged after a hurried bidding process orchestrated by Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling. A solo bid worked best, Ballmer believed, because of the frenetic process involved.
The person reiterated the Ballmer will keep the Clippers in Los Angeles and has never intended otherwise. Ballmer was part of the failed effort in 2013 to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle.