Steve Ballmer became one of the most beloved NBA owners when he took over the Clippers from Donald Sterling. He’s on a mission to cement their following in the years to come.
The Clippers have come a long way from the irrelevance of the 80s, 90s and the 2000s. Signing Chris Paul through a 2011 trade was a major shot in the arm.
Ever since that time, one can argue that the Clippers have laid down a blueprint to competence and relevance. They’ve finished ahead of the Lakers for 9 out of the past 10 seasons in the regular season.
While Los Angeles remains by and large a Lakers town and that will never change, there’s an undeniable Clippers wave going on in Hollywood Boulevard.
Steve Ballmer has revamped the image of the franchise from scratch since his 2015 takeover. They’ve now become perennial contenders with the signings of California natives Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
The LA Clippers will also be opening their new stadium, the Intuit Dome, to the public by 2024. This Inglewood facility will cement their presence in Los Angeles in a way that the Staples Center never would have.
Steve Ballmer takes shots at Lakers for what he perceives to be undeserved Clippers hate
Steve Ballmer made some candid statements with regard to the hostile reception the Clippers have faced from Lakers fans. In his mind, Los Angeles natives should take equal pride in both hometown teams.
He also indulged in a bit of trash talking to drive home his point that the Clippers are ‘living rent-free’ in Lakers fans’ heads:
“I have been surprised by animus from Lakers fans, and my message has sort of been, why, you don’t have enough confidence in your guys?”
“There are 29 other teams you have to beat to win a championship, but you must be pretty worried about us. The Lakers are a great organization, a great franchise, but Laker fans, you must be a little worried about us.”