The Last Dance is a look back at one of the NBA’s greatest moments, Blackballed promises to be a look back at one of its worst!
The list of Steve Ballmer’s accomplishments as Clippers owner is pretty amazing. Since he purchased the team for a staggering, and well above asking price, $2 billion dollars he has done what many thought was unthinkable.
He made the Clippers a legitimate franchise.
There are stories of Ballmer taking everything in back at the start. He would sit in on ticket sales meetings and interject. He made the hard decisions, one of which included promoting Lawrence Frank to the head of basketball operations. That meant, essentially, demoting Doc Rivers, who basically enjoyed that role prior, to just coach.
Demotions are not generally taken lightly by anyone, but this one happened with nary a blip.
The reason is simple, Ballmer understood the mess the team was in and provided a reason for the decision. When someone with passion provides a clear vision of the future, it is a lot easier for everyone to fall into place. Doc Rivers fell into place and the team has been very, very good since then.
As if all the above wasn’t enough, Steve Ballmer somehow convinced arguably the greatest architect of basketball teams to join his team. Jerry West is a 2x NBA Executive of the Year with an incredible 8 Championships attributed to him for teams he has led or otherwise had a hand in leading. Ballmer convinced the Logo to join the Clippers for what West called “the last adventure of my life“.
It’s clear that Ballmer will interject where he thinks he can help, is willing to make the tough decisions to get his team where they need to be and, this is the tough one, strong enough to get out of the way when he doesn’t know the subject. He can do that because he knows he has the best available talent in place to make the decisions he isn’t qualified to make.
We know that Ballmer’s next great endeavor is changing the way we watch games. In October 17, 2018 the L.A. Clippers announced the launch of Clippers CourtVision. The somewhat gimmicky option allowed you to watch Clippers games in different modes. You could see real-time stats in Player Mode, flashy graphics in Mascot Mode or diagrams and plays in Coaches Mode. It was interesting, but really more of a novelty.
But Ballmer understands that technology comes in waves. Version 1.0 of anything is likely buggy, could be considered gimmicky and will be far surpassed by Versions 2, 3, 4, etc. In short, this is the start of something amazing with Ballmer and his Clippers leading the way!
The Clippers are winning, on and off the court, and they have Ballmer to thank for it.
One less considered win for Ballmer is the fact that most fans today don’t remember the guy who came before him. Ballmer’s accomplishments have over shadowed his predecessors failings. Any Clippers fans over 25 or so will remember that those failings were as epicly horrible as Ballmer’s accomplishments have been amazing.
Yet, now we have to relive that horrible, horrible time thanks to Quibi and Blackballed.
I won’t promote the show any further by adding a link to the trailer, I’m sure you can find it if you want. In fact, I will likely watch it. But, nothing in me wants to. Even knowing how good a state the team is in now, I see no value in re-living past ugliness. Would you re-connect with an ex while you were in love with your current?
Ok, maybe not the best example, but you know what I’m trying to say.
The one silver lining to the outcome of Blackballed is that we saw the end of one era and the start of another. The steps to get there, which will no doubt be the basis of the show, are just too ugly to recount. But, recount and relive them we will starting on May 18th.
So, in an effort to leave you with a little bit of a smile as we prepare for the ugliness that is to come, I wanted to share this video. I stumbled upon it as I was researching for this article. I have no idea how I have never seen it before. There is no context I can provide, and I’m not sure it needs context. Please enjoy this less than a minute video featuring Steve Ballmer as Mr. Evil and Bill Gates as Austin Powers.
Why, you might ask. Because we all could use a smile right now!
Jose has written for Bleacher Report, Clipperholics, OC Weekly and wrote a series of articles covering the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times. He lives in Southern California and is excited to watch thePeachBasket grow!