Los Angeles Clippers Complete $10 Million Project for More Than 350 Renovated Public Basketball Courts in City

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Back in 2018, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, were asked if they could donate some money to help renovate just a few local basketball courts.

After looking into the situation, the Ballmers actually decided to go ahead and give a whopping $10 million. Their plan was to improve over 350 basketball courts in the City of Los Angeles in four years. This week, they finished up the final touches and unveiled the Clippers Community Courts, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“This was the largest donation ever to the City of Los Angeles’ parks system. It has transformed recreation centers,” Carolyn Ramsay, executive director of the L.A. Parks Foundation, said. “They have been a point of pride for nearly every neighborhood.”

Ballmer estimates that 98% of the city’s residents are within two miles of at least one of the 350 refurbished parks. That means nearly four million people in Los Angeles can easily access a Clippers Community Court.

“The staff that worked on this thing, the contractors, the people from the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks, good job,” Ballmer said. “With our partners at the Parks Foundation and Department of Recreation and Parks, this is a proud achievement.”

Cydney Henderson of USA Today also notes that – in addition to a place to play basketball – the newly-updated facilities have also been used as shelters, emergency child care centers and alternative learning sites in the community during the pandemic.

“You could go on with your life, spend your money somewhere else, and never know that the kids matter,” Ellen G., senior director of the 109th Street Rec Center in Watts, said in the Los Angeles Clippers’ social media video. “But they do matter. These basketball courts will save lives.”

Billionaire Putting His Money to Good Use

Ballmer was one of Bill Gates’ first employees at Microsoft, and eventually became CEO of the company. He purchased the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling for $2 billion back in 2014. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his wealth around $97 billion.

In an anonymous survey conducted by The Athletic two years ago, Ballmer was voted the best owner in the NBA. An excerpt from that article summed it up perfectly:

“Ballmer bought the team from Sterling, a man known for racism and penny-pinching. He has since transformed the franchise into one of the league’s leading organizations,” it read. “Since 2014, Ballmer has built up an image as a free-spending, enthusiastic owner. He walks the appropriate line between empowering his employees and his own involvement.”