Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly won a bidding war to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers from ousted owner Donald Sterling. If the deal goes through, he will pay $US2 billion for the team.
But that hefty sum is just a small fraction of his fortune. According to Forbes, Ballmer has a net worth of $US20 billion, which makes him the 34th richest man in the world.
Ballmer is known in the tech community for being eccentric and high-energy. He also spends his billions in some pretty interesting ways.
Ballmer has a degree in maths and economics from Harvard, where he worked for the university's football team.
While at Harvard, Ballmer spent much of his time working as a manager for the football team. He has said the experience taught him lessons that have been important in his business life.
'I'm not a very good athlete, actually. But I love sports,' he told PC Mag. 'I learned the most important thing I've ever learned -- the most important business learning exercise was as manager of the Harvard football team. I had to come in, memorize the names of 100 people basically in a day, and I had to get up in front of 100 football players -- which is not exactly -- they're a kind of rowdy lot.'
Ballmer and Gates lived down the hall from each other at Harvard. Though Gates left before finishing his degree, the two remained close friends.
In 1980, Ballmer dropped out of an MBA program at Stanford to join Gates at Microsoft.
'Partners, spouses, whatever, we participated together in giving birth to this amazing thing called Microsoft. We always work well together, we do not always agree, we always work through our disagreements,' Ballmer said to the Telegraph. 'That is why I say there is a certain husband-wife, brothers thing, where you have an ability to agree, resolve issues, a fundamental respect, admiration, good feeling.'
The pair have a sense of humour, too -- they once filmed a 'Night at the Roxbury' spoof for a Microsoft conference.
With a population of roughly 400 people, Hunts Point is a small but wealthy town located just across Lake Washington from Seattle. It's about a fifteen minute drive to Microsoft's campus in Redmond.
Ballmer's waterfront home is nice, but it pales in comparison to the 12,200-square-foot English manor next door. The estate used to belong to Kenny G, but tech entrepreneur Craig McCaw purchased the property in 1999. The selling price was rumoured to be close to $US26 million.
In fact, playing golf at courses around the world is his favourite part of being wealthy.
During his first public appearance since leaving Microsoft, he told the dean of Oxford's School of Business, 'I can play just about any golf course I want on the planet. If I can get there someone will take me out to play. I'm a lousy player, but I love it.'
Ballmer's enthusiasm is the stuff of legend. He earned the nickname 'monkey boy' after a video of him jumping around the stage at a Microsoft event made its rounds on the internet.
Once, at a sales meeting in Japan, he shouted 'Windows! Windows!' so loudly that he damaged his vocal chords and required surgery to recover them.
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