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2019-07-25T14:00:03-04:00)

Are we ready to watch Steve Ballmer scream about a Clippers team that’s actually great?

I’m worried for him.

I’m just gonna come out and say it: I think Steve Ballmer is too hyped, and I’m concerned for him.

Now, look, we should all be so lucky as to have an owner of our favorite team so beside himself that he sounds like Matt Foley giving a motivational speech in your living room, and to be fair, Kawhi and PG arriving is the most exciting thing to happen in his Clippers tenure so far, so this is justified in a way. But I honestly don’t see how Ballmer can keep this up all season without exploding on the sideline like a Spinal Tap drummer.

This is all par-for-the-course for Ballmer, whose hype level has been through the roof for nearly 40 years. The former Microsoft CEO is a legend in the tech community for his often off-the-rails levels of excitement for things like operating systems, web development, and much more. He’s famous for screaming “I LOVE THIS COMPANY!” to a small army of Microsoft employees after taking over as CEO, sweat pouring down his brow as if the moment was all too much.

Ballmer’s excitement has always been calculated, to an extent. This is a man who knows that part of his job is getting people excited. When you’re the most amped-up person in the room, everyone else (in theory) feels comfortable to come out of their shell and at least meet you halfway.

This level of investment isn’t always healthy, however. There are accounts of him needing vocal reconstruction surgery from shouting too much, and court documents from 2004 that describe Ballmer as throwing a chair across the room while shouting “I’m going to f***ing kill Google!” in response to an executive leaving Microsoft for the company. He’s also banned his family from using iPhones, and replaced Apple products in the Clippers’ organization with Microsoft ones.

A (brief) history of Steve Ballmer’s over-the-top exploits and eccentricities.

“He would keep telling himself, ‘I’m gonna kick some ass in class today,’ “ says classmate Dan Rudolph, who rode with him. The sound track for this mantra was often Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.”

  • That time he kept saying the Clippers were going to be “hardcore.”
  • When he dunked off a trampoline at halftime.
  • That time he lost it when the Clippers came back against the Warriors.

So here we have Steve Ballmer, a fiercely loyal (often to a fault) guy who is prone to getting over-excited (sometimes to the detriment of his own health), now owning a team that is a favorite for the NBA title after signing the reigning NBA Finals MVP. I was already worried about Ballmer back in 2014, when he had just bought the team and they were merely good. What happens now, given that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are going to undoubtedly be one of the most exciting tandems in the NBA this season?

Now all we can do is wait and see if his white-hot passion causes him to incinerate court side. God help any ref that decides a game with a call he doesn’t like, now the stakes are higher than ever.

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