Billionaire Clippers owner Steve Ballmer threw his “come to the Clippers” pitch at NBA legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal in the TNT studio, practicing for what he would tell Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the other recruits in the newly staged Battle for LA Basketball: Lakers v. Clippers For Realz.
Ballmer talked about the good Los Angeles weather — duh — and called LA the “greatest city for basketball in the world.” (You hear that, KD and Kyrie?)
The former Microsoft CEO also boasted on the strengths of a Clippers organization that featured Doc Rivers and “Mr. Logo” Jerry West, as well as his own commitment to do “anything in his power to support you in your success.” Hey, give the guy a break — he didn’t have his trusty PowerPoint deck with him!
Asked if he was swayed, Barkley responded sensibly — ignoring the weather and the presence of Rivers, etc. “Just give me $100 million and we’ll call it even,” Barkley said and smiled.
As usual, Barkley got to part of the heart of the matter. Kawhi Leonard will receive more than $140 million from Ballmer — and the ability to augment his earnings significantly in the NBA’s second-biggest market.