Paul George on Steve Ballmer: "He about it. It's not a show"
Steve Ballmer isn't a regular NBA owner. He's a billionaire cheering on his team with more enthusiasm than most fans. It's a type of genuine energy that really resonates with Paul George.
Paul George talked about his appreciation for Steve Ballmer on the Knuckleheads podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles.
Steve Ballmer has been more than apparent about the type of culture he wants to build for the LA Clippers. He wants the organization to be a premier organization, filled without egos. Given the history of how cheap the Clipper used to be, he wants this iteration to be the exact opposite.
"It's about the culture that he wants to build here," George said. "He tells us multiple times that 'whatever that we need, or whatever is not in the locker room that y'all want, come to me. At the end of the day, I want this to be the destination for every player to want to come to. I want to build a history here.' He understood the owner that was here before him, and he wants to separate himself from him. Honestly, it's been a blessing."
Playing for Steve Ballmer is quite literally the opposite of playing for Donald Sterling. One owner was racist, cheap, and berated his players while they were on the court. Steve Ballmer is willing to spend, encourages inclusive thought, and congratulates his players after games.
"After games, he'll send us a text "good job, you guys hung in there, y'all fought hard" whatever the case may be for that particular game," George said. "He's always a part of us. After games, he waits in the hallways. When we finish our games he's high-fiving, we feel like he's a part of us."
The encouragement and energy Ballmer brings can galvanize players in a way that very few owners can. It's the same type of way Patrick Beverley can galvanize his teammates. Players want to win for him, they don't want to let Ballmer down, and they want to reward his energy. That type of bond goes beyond the regular player-owner relationship.
"He's not the owner, he's a part of this team. It's a real joy to go out and want to play for him. Do well for him. Bring a championship to him."