Steve Ballmer described his record $2-billion purchase of the Clippers as an “L.A. beachfront price” Monday in his first public comments since a judge tentatively approved the sale of the franchise.
The former Microsoft chief executive reiterated that the Clippers won’t be moved.
“I think a lot of people would tell you I paid an L.A. beachfront price, not a Seattle beachfront price, for the team,” Ballmer told reporters before a charity golf event in Snoqualmie, Wash., according to KING television.
Last week, Judge Michael Levanas tentatively ruled that Shelly Sterling had the authority to agree to sell the Clippers to Ballmer in May. The judge also issued an unusual order allowing the sale to proceed regardless of any appeal by Donald Sterling. His attorneys have pledged to continue fighting the sale in the courts.
“We’re not terribly concerned that they’re actually going to move forward with the sale,” Bobby Samini, one of Sterling’s attorneys, told The Times last week.
Before playing in a foursome that included Fred Couples and Rick Neuheisel, Ballmer noted that the Clippers are “not my team yet,” pending the judge’s final order and a vote of approval by the NBA’s board of governors.
As an owner, Ballmer said returning an NBA franchise to Seattle would be a priority.
“It’s really unfortunate that the greatest city in the world doesn’t have a professional basketball team and I hope that happens,” Ballmer said via KING.
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