NBA

Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer’s Education Is Nearly as Impressive as His $51 Billion Net Worth

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

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A few years ago, I met Steve Ballmer. He taught me a lesson that changed my life 🚀 – Back in the days, he was still CEO at @microsoft and it was a bumpy ride. If are familiar with the tech industry and old enough to have lived in a world before #GameOfThrone, I'm sure you remember those videos: #SteveBallmer jumping around on stage, sweating and yelling after Microsoft teams. – It was insane! A billionaire (13th richest Man on Earth) in charge of one of the most powerful companies in the World, performing like a kid on crack 🤦‍♂ – When I heard that I was going to meet him, I prepared to… well, anything. – It was a short meeting. He was in #Paris with the kind of schedule you can imagine, but whatever he had to give, I was happy to take it. When he arrived, surrounded by an army of #Microsoft guys, he walked to me directly and shook my hand. – He introduced himself (like if he had too! 😅) and let me introduce myself. He was staring at me, straight in the eyes. It was incredibly intense. I was feeling like being scanned. – We discussed a few minutes – I'll keep for myself the conversation – before he left to meet the next person. – Here's what I remember, and what I turned into a lesson. For the short time we spent together, Steve Ballmer gave me everything he had. He was 100% present, didn't care about anything or anyone else but me. He was listening, really paying attention before sharing back his thoughts. – Since then, when I meet with someone, I try to be 100% present, instead of looking at my phone (and my notifications). I try to focus and to give as much of me as I can to the person(s) I am with. I'm not saying I am always good at it, but I try. – Time is the most valuable resource that we all have. Not being present and/or multitasking is a waste of your time, and also a waste of the time of the people you meet with. How disrespectful is that, when you think about it? – Would you steal $100 from a friend? Of course not! And yet you can waste 10 minutes of his time by being on your phone during a meeting, knowing that time is much more valuable than money? – Steve Ballmer taught me that, years ago, and I'm still incredibly grateful for the lesson 🙏💙

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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

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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.