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ballmercoverYou may be accustomed to seeing former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a suit, or a flashy red sweater.

But now check this out: Through the magic of technology the billionaire basketball owner appears on the cover of Bloomberg BusinessWeek holding a basketball and donning a Clippers jersey. Even more, the enhancements to the photo make it appear as if Ballmer is moving at the speed of light.

Ballmer with Clippers star Blake Griffin. Photo via L.A. Clippers.
Ballmer with Clippers star Blake Griffin. Photo via L.A. Clippers.

Here’s how the magazine got the amazing shot, which actually convinced Ballmer to pose in a the Clippers jersey. Then, PhotoShop took over.

The photo anchors a cover story titled: Steve Ballmer’s new life with the Clippers.

In the story, we get the inside scoop on Ballmer’s record-breaking $2 billion buy of the L.A. Clippers — learning that he was also close to buying the Milwaukee Bucks before the Donald Sterling mess hit the press.

Not surprisingly, Ballmer is bringing some of his tech swagger — and jargon — to the Clippers. In responding to a question about the Clippers, he tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

“You’ve got to decide whether you need to do Version 2.1, or do you need to just blow it up and do a whole renamed product or a Version 3. I think the basic theory is that we’re close.” He’s already decided to spend as much as a few million on equipment and technology for the team, and he knows what he expects from the players: “We have to work with blood and guts and hard-core commitment and good character on and off the court. You have to be all in.” Ballmer plans to live by the same ethos and to follow the advice of Mark Cuban, a fellow tech billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks: “He told me, ‘Don’t feel like you have to be muted. Just be yourself.’ ”

In addition to getting advice from Cuban, Ballmer called Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, owner of the Portland Trailblazers.

The entire piece is worth a read, including insights about how Ballmer spent his weeks after leaving Microsoft sitting in bed watching episodes of The Good Wife and why he’s instituted mission statements filled with corporate-speak dubbed the Clippers Credo. There are also great anecdotes like when star point guard Chris Paul — an iPhone 6 owner — borrows a Windows Phone for a photo shoot about the team’s mobile apps.

The key issue — symbolized by the photo shoot —  is whether Ballmer’s micromanagement style will work in a NBA franchise full of big egos. Reporter Ashlee Vance writes:

Ballmer’s hands-on style can be as overpowering as his rhetoric; this is a man who has compared rival products to cancer and often yelled his critics into submission. Whether he has the patience to let Rivers and the coaching staff do their jobs won’t really be apparent until he has been through a draft or two and becomes emotionally invested in players.

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