As Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer was often in the spotlight for his fiery personality, impassioned speeches and zany appearances in commercials. Now that he’s stepped down from the job, he’s still making the headlines, but this time, it isn’t for any antics.
On Friday, the NBA voted to approve Ballmer’s $2 billion offer for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. What better reason to take a look back at his past shenanigans as he becomes an NBA franchise owner?
1. “Developers, developers, developers!”
In a video aptly titled, “Steve Ballmer Going Crazy on Stage,” the man worth $20 billion does just that. He yells a lot and breathes pretty hard after dancing around. Combined with profuse sweating and lots of repetition, a seemingly favorite rhetorical device, it’s a sight you just gotta see for yourself.
2. The chair-throwing incident
Back in 2004, Ballmer allegedly threw a chair across his office and had some choice words for Google after hearing news that Mark Lucovsky, an employee, would be resigning to join Google.
In legal documents, Lucovsky said: “Prior to joining Google, I set up a meeting on or about November 11, 2004 with Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss my planned departure….At some point in the conversation Mr. Ballmer said: ‘Just tell me it’s not Google.’ I told him it was Google. At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office.”
And the rest gets a little, well, crude to say the least.
Ballmer denied ever throwing a chair. But throwing chairs is a bit of a basketball tradition. Just ask Bobby Knight, the infamous former Indiana University coach, who once tossed a chair across the court in a fit of anger.
3. “I love this company”
In another video including Steve Ballmer and “crazy” in its title, the basketball fan and tech tycoon doesn’t disappoint. He also gives somewhat of an impassioned speech that starts “I have four words for you. I. Love. This. Company.” Will he bring the same zeal to his non-Seattle team?
4. TV commercials
Ballmer also flaunted his big personality on TV. Among his many performances, he put in time on promotional campaigns that were just as ridiculous as his fiery pump-ups in person. For just $99, you could have owned Windows 1.0 — at least if you were able to survive the commercial.
5. The Bill Gates / Steve Ballmer spoof video
Finally, but certainly not the last of Ballmer’s escapades: a video shown at conferences that he made with Steve Jobs, his Microsoft predecessor, set to the pop hit “What is Love?”