Steve Ballmer Gives A Passionate Statement At An NBA Preseason Game In Seattle

On Monday night, the NBA returned to the hardwood in Seattle, and the atmosphere was reminiscent of the early 2000s, with Steve Ballmer yelling at the top of his lungs to get the fans going.

Before a preseason game between the Los Angeles Clippers (which Ballmer owns) and the Portland Trail Blazers, the former Microsoft CEO took the microphone at half court and had Climate Pledge Arena roaring.

“Having a game in Seattle means a lot to me,” the author exclaims. Ballmer roared, his usual vigor evident in the pumping of his fists and pacing around the room.

The first NBA action since the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 took place in the recently renovated Key Arena.

As CEO of Microsoft, based in nearby Redmond, Wash., Ballmer almost filled the yawning gap created by his departure.

Ballmer was a part of an ownership group that attempted to keep the Sonics in Seattle in 2008 before he spent $2 billion on the Clippers in 2014. Soon after, he joined a group of investors that proposed constructing a new arena to the south of the central business district.

Ballmer has stated repeatedly since acquiring the Clippers that he has no plans to relocate the team to Seattle. He did, however, claim that he would be in a good position to argue for Seattle’s inclusion in the NBA when the time comes.

Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft who passed away in 2018, owned the Blazers since 1988, and Steve Ballmer honored them in a Monday address lasting just 75 seconds. His passion for basketball was sparked by Allen, he added.

Jody Allen, Paul’s sister, is in charge of The Paul G. Allen Trust, which is the legal entity that owns the Portland Timbers. On Monday, Jody Allen attended the game from courtside seating.

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Ballmer and his wife Connie sat courtside and he showed his whole gamut of emotions, staying engrossed in the action all the way to the last seconds, despite the fact that the game was a preseason tuneup.

NBA Preseason Game
NBA Preseason Game

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy was in attendance, as he is a part-owner of the Seattle Kraken, the city’s new National Hockey League franchise. In 2020, the venue formerly known as KeyArena will be known as the Climate Pledge Arena thanks to a sponsorship from Seattle internet giant Amazon.

Several local and state officials were in attendance, including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Lenny Wilkens, Sam Perkins, and Detlef Schrempf were among the legendary Sonics players in attendance. George Karl, who coached the team when Karl was the head coach, was also a spectator. During halftime, they were all recognized on the court.

Schrempf told before Monday’s game that he didn’t believe the team needed to “prove anything” to the NBA. They know we have a dedicated fan base, a state-of-the-art stadium, and sufficient wealth in the community to cover the costs of running a professional sports franchise.

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