If Clippers lose under Ballmer, will there be a blue screen of death?

A few predictions about Steve Ballmer's Clippers

It figures that the guy who reportedly won the bidding war for the Los Angeles Clippers is the only Fortune 500 chief executive known for his vertical leap.

Steve Ballmer was known for his, ahem, unbridled enthusiasm as chief executive of Microsoft. A search for "Steve Ballmer jumping" on Google generates close to half a million results; that's more than twice as many as Larry Ellison gets.

But if Ballmer's years at Microsoft tell us anything, we can expect to see the following developments in Clipper Nation (assuming that the owners of the other National Basketball Assn. teams approve the purchase):

  • The team will fail to make the playoffs in its first two years under Ballmer because it will simply not be ready. Version 3, however, will be a great leap forward in quality.
  • Nearly all Angelenos will become Clippers fans over the course of the next decade, although many will still claim to love the Lakers for the sake of appearances.
  • The Clippers will develop a host of new products, almost all of which will fail. But the video-game version of the team will rock.
  • Players on the Clippers roster will repeatedly fall victim to viruses.
  • After every game, the Clippers will have to be rebooted.
  • The team's draft strategy will change as management places an emphasis on players with the greatest number of discrete skills. Unfortunately, many of them will prove to be uncoachable.
  • Fans will have to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold to watch any Clippers games at home. And at the end of the game, the only way to turn off the telecast will be to hit Control-Alt-Delete.
  • The Clippers will sell souvenir basketballs signed by the players. If you want them to hold air, however, you will have to download a patch.
  • Ticket holders won't be admitted to Staples Center until they acknowledge that they've read and agreed to the team's terms of use.
  • Ballmer will also launch a new baseball team to compete with the Dodgers, saying its games will offer fans a superior experience regardless of the results on the field. The team will be called Bing.

Have we left anything out? Look into your crystal balls and predict what Redmond's erstwhile warrior CEO will bring to Chris Paul and company. We'll update this post with the best suggestions.

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9:48 p.m. May 29: Reader Bob Abrahams offered this prediction: Ballmer will come up with a new way to play basketball that supposedly works better on a very small court. But honestly, the new way won't work very well at all on the standard court where it will still be played for years.


2:12 p.m. May 30: Reader Penguinista let loose his inner geek with this one, which suggests how the Clippers might change with a Microsoftian approach to security: Ballmer will no longer sell Clippers tickets. Instead, a per-seat license must be purchased and fans must electronically validate their licenses at each game. During home games if Doc Rivers wants to send in a new player, a UAC warning message will flash on the Jumbotron asking the fans if they really want the new player to run.

Reader Citrine offers this: As with the debut of Windows 95, each Clippers game will begin with the Rolling Stones singing "Start Me Up," with the particularly memorable line: "You make a grown man cryyyyyyy."

And when the clock runs out at the game's end, reader kh0110 predicts, the referee will whistle and shout "Start."