Clippers owner and shrieking enthusiast Steve Ballmer is riding high these days. His Clippers manage a respectable rebuild without ever going into the tank; Paul George along for the ride; Kawhi Leonard jumped from a championship to his outfit; and Thursday he shared with his new stadium, where he is going to break loose from the Lakers championship banners. You can see why Ballmer was in a water-under-the-bridge mood about rival owner Jeanie Buss secretly gave him the nickname "Ballz" in a snotty leaked email exchange about his team's move from Staples Center.
Back in March , Los Angeles Times Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Buss's top advisor Linda Rambis, and businessman Irving Azoff, shared the trio shared fear and bewilderment over Ballmer's plan to move his clippers to a new arena in Inglewood. Ballmer's move is not exactly super popular among other things, it's opposed by James Dolan's Madison Square Garden Co., which, in addition to owning Madison Square Garden and managing the New York Knicks, owns the forum. The Forum, which is used to be the home of the Lakers, is located in Inglewood. Currently it's a concert venue, and MSG Co. is clinging to a clippers arena nosing in on its turf that it has sued the city of Inglewood California Superior Court in order to stop the proceedings. Azoff, Times MSG.
The emails published by the Times are surprisingly bitchy. Azoff floated the idea of Buss moving the Lakers back to the Forum; Buss scoffed at the notion of the clippers surviving out in the cold world without the benevolent patronage of her Lakers; weirdly, she and Azoff Pretty Baller as "Ballz." Here's Azoff:
Tomorrow at Inglewood wants to announce it's ballet and clippers have optioned land on a century ago blvd to build a new arena. we were blind sided and not involved in the process. it's a long way to fruition but we should talk about how it impacts the lakers, forum, etc!
And here's Buss, being rude about Ballmer, about the Brothers Jim, who was pushing out of the Lakers organization in 201
Did not Ballz see what we did to my brother ?? He wants to have nothing but Clippers basketball. Whoopee.
I encourage you to read the entire Times report for more uses of this goofy nickname. Ballmer asked about this at the big unveiling of his arena sketches Thursday. Because he is a terrifyingly jolly galoot who is on a long-life winning streak, he was pretty chill about the whole thing. Ballmer says the emails were "weird," but Jeanie did the right thing and apologized. By ESPN:
"That email thing was weird," Ballmer said. "Let me just say it was weird.
Ballmer had a sense of humor about everything.
"First I'll say Jeanie was very nice," he added. "She follows up apologetically about that. Actually my initial reaction was misspelled it – with a 'z' My initial reaction was, 'z?!?' 'With my last name, I will not say that. It's not the first time I've heard that. "
It's going to take more than" Ballz "to darken Steve Ballmer's insane euphoria.