Henceforth, in Southern California, when you hear the name Steve, you will not need to hear the last name to know the subject of the conversation. The man with that name now owns the hearts and minds of the local sports fans. He accomplished this enormous feat in a single day, actually in about 45 minutes. His full name is Steve Ballmer, and he is the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
After what has seemed like an eternity, his offer to buy the Clippers was finally approved. This region has moved from the murky shadows of the Sterling's into the bright sunlight of the Ballmer smile. It was a good day for the Clippers, an outstanding day for local fans, and simply one of the best days in the world.
Southern California has been bereft of sports personalities, since Magic Johnson and Tommy Lasorda retired. Magic had the game and the smile, and Tommy had the style. If you listened to Tommy for just five minutes, you would be absolutely convinced that being a Dodger was the most important thing in the world. Also, if necessary, you should be happy and proud to bleed Dodger Blue. In his mind, there was no question about that.
Sports fans in this area, for the most part, do not really know who owns the Dodgers and the Lakers. They hear names, but they rarely see or hear from the actual owners. These owners do not trouble themselves to speak to the fans, or to let them know that they are appreciated. I suspect that only a handful of people in this entire region would recognize Stan Kasten, or Jim Buss. They are rarely seen in public, and it is unlikely that they would ever show up to talk to fans. They have more important things to do, at least, in their own minds.
There is not any question in my mind that the Clippers will now become a constant, competitive organization. They will be in strong contention for the NBA Title this year, but Oklahoma City and San Antonio may block their path. The stars on the Clippers have to learn how to play with fouls, and how to make free throws. Oh, I almost forgot, they will also have to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Welcome to Los Angeles, Mr. Ballmer. The City is yours, congratulations! You know what you have to do.
Byron Scott is a great coach, and a good man. When he was coaching the New Jersey Nets, he led his team of mostly no-name players to two consecutive Championship Series against the Kobe-Shaq led Lakers. The only player that anyone remembers from that team is Jason Kidd. He has never coached a team with a lot of talent, but they were always tough, and they played both hard and smart. He was hired to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, when LeBron James was still on the roster. However, what Scott and the rest of us did not know, was that James had decided to go to Miami, and so there was not anything left to coach. So, he had a losing record there, and he was fired. He was succeeded by Mike Brown, who has also been fired. In my opinion, the Lakers should have hired him, instead of Mike Brown, who was clearly not ready for the bright lights in a big city. Scott is here now trying to coach an aging Kobe Bryant, and a lackluster group of other players. Hang in there Byron, maybe your luck will change.