(International Times) – As the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for delivering wildly enthusiastic corporate speeches that might have been better suited to a sports coach. Now, as the incoming owner of the beleaguered Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, he has found his new niche. On Monday, during a rally at the Staples Centre in Downtown Los Angeles, Ballmer addressed Clippers supporters and colleagues with a pep-talk every bit as passionate as his Microsoft keynotes.
The 58-year-old emerged on stage to the sound of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, high-fiving ecstatic fans. He gave out his email address to the crowd – insisting they call him Steve, not Mr Ballmer. In one of the more heated passages of his 13-minute speech, he promised that under his ownership, the Clippers would be “hardcore”. He said: “Something knocks us down and we’re going to get back and keep coming and coming and coming and coming… Hardcore, baby! Nothing gets in our way, BOOM! Keep coming. Hardcore. The hardcore Clippers, that’s us.”
This is the same Steve Ballmer whose appearances at Microsoft events could be so brash and bombastic that they often went viral. In one famous example, his blue shirt drenched in sweat, he clapped as he chanted the mantra: “Developers, developers, developers, developers.” In another, he yelled maniacally: “I. Love. This. Company!” On Monday, he offered variations on that theme: “I love basketball,” he cried. “I love Los Angeles!”; “I love this team!”