Steve Ballmer is known for his Microsoft career and most recently as owner of the LA Clippers, but did you know about his prestigious academic career? It probably comes as no surprise that he grew up in an affluent Michigan community and went on to attend some of the most distinguished educational institutions. Here’s what you need to know about this bold NBA team owner.
Steve Ballmer’s education
Ballmer’s own lengthy educational achievements are almost as impressive as his many billions. Ballmer spent part of his youth in Brussels due to his father’s work, attending the International School of Brussels.
From there, The Detroit News reports he earned a scholarship and graduated as valedictorian from Detroit Country Day School, a private college prep school. He achieved a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT and became a National Merit Scholar. While still in high school, he took college prep and engineering courses at Lawrence Technology University, preparing him for a bright future.
With all that early success, it’s no surprise that he went on to Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in applied mathematics and economics as reported by CNN.
Ballmer’s so good at mathematics that he even beat Bill Gates in a competition. He appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show and said that, although Gates is a whiz at math, he beat him in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, “He finished 10th in our dormitory at college. 10th in our dorm. I was about second in the dorm, 57th in the country, but who’s counting?”
Luckily, that didn’t stop Gates from hiring Ballmer to work for Microsoft in the early ’80s. In fact, the duo’s working relationship and friendship lasted into the 2000s.
Ballmer acquires the Clippers
Ballmer’s intelligence and savvy not only led to his tenure at Microsoft but allowed him to acquire enough wealth to purchase the LA Clippers. He bought the team in 2014 for an astonishing $2 billion.
Under the previous ownership of Donald Sterling, the Clippers were a joke. Making the playoffs only 11 times since their move to LA in 1984, they were one of the worst franchises in the NBA. But that all changed with Ballmer.
Since his acquisition, the team has consistently made the playoffs and is now a contender for the title. He changed personnel and how the organization was run. He brought energy and fire back to the team. Not only that, but he put money back into the team — signing big names, acquiring free agents, and making trades.
The changes don’t stop there. In early 2020, Ballmer purchased The Forum in Inglewood, California with the plans for it to become the future home of the LA Clippers.
Ballmer gives back
Ballmer and his wife Connie make it a point to continually spread their good fortune. They’ve established The Ballmer Group, which mainly helps improve economic mobility for children in poverty.
The Ballmer Group has donated millions to educational related organizations and projects. Focusing on children and families, the goal is to break down barriers and provide opportunities for all children.
Charitable efforts are also important to the LA Clippers. Ballmer makes sure the team gives back to the community. Most recently, they donated $10 million to the Los Angeles Parks Foundation to repair and renovate nearly 350 basketball courts within the park system.
The team is also a part of the LA Clippers Foundation that looks to support the community, especially children, in any way. The organization teams up with sponsors and other community organizations to provide opportunities to kids in LA.