Ballmer: I Could Be a Winning Basketball Coach

Steve Ballmer isn’t a graceful man, but there’s no disputing that he’s passionate. Ballmer is able to get people excited with his enthusiasm (and sweat), which is part of the reason why he’s leading the way at Microsoft right now.

In an interview with the New York Times, Ballmer was asked what the hardest part of his job is. He replied, “Finding the right balance between optimism and realism. I’m an optimist by nature, and I start from the belief that you can always succeed if you have the right amount of focus combined with the right amount of hard work.”

“So I can get frustrated when progress runs up against issues that should have been anticipated or that simply couldn’t have been foreseen,” he added. “A realist knows that a certain amount of that is inevitable, but the optimist in me always struggles when progress doesn’t match my expectations.”

Those who have seen Ballmer’s presentations or listened to his interviews know that the man likes to talk and think fast, often throwing in bold statements. Everyone knows that he’s good at the talking bit, but he’s working on becoming a better listener. How? By slowing down his brain, of course.

“My brain races too much, so even if I’ve listened to everything somebody said, unless you show that you’ve digested it, people don’t think they are being well heard. Sometimes you really don’t hear because you’re racing,” the Microsoft CEO admitted. “It’s just the way my brain works. My brain is just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop.”

Steve Ballmer has been at Microsoft for 29 years now, but what would he be doing if he hadn’t met Bill Gates?

“Education, probably. I like working with young people, and I think it’s really important to encourage talent,” said Ballmer. “I love basketball, so I could see myself as a high school basketball coach. I think a basketball team that I coached would have a really good chance of being a winner.”

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Tindytim
    Now presenting:
    Balmer gone Wild!18 hours of pure uncut footage, with some of the hotests microsoft blow-ups! And if you order now, you'll get a 13 hour bonus sweat edition! Watch Balmer drip and glisten!
  • jerther
    I love this guy, even though it's weird to be so excited about.. software... :P

    Would you see him selling cars? MAN that'd be awesome!! Remember Crazy Earl from Weird Al Yankovic's UHF: "People come to me and say, Hey, WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THOSE CARS!!! I tell you what, if nobody comes down here and buys me a car in the next hour, I'M GONNA CLUB THIS SEAL! I'M GONNA CLUB A BABY SEAL TO MAKE A BETTER DEAL! You know I'll do it, cause I'm crazy!"

    Hahaha I love this line :) Ballmer could have been a coach, but he's made to be visible :)
  • Hellcatm
    I think he should leave MS and become a basketball coach. Someone with ADD has no right to be the head of one of the biggest companies in the world. He probably can't concentrate on one thing more than 5 seconds. Its good to see someone who is excited about a product, but Bill Gates was excited without looking like he's going to have a heart attack.

    Ballmer reminds me of this character I saw on a recent Law and Order. They guy was a schizophrenic roller skater street performer. Even when they had him in the interrogation room he couldn't sit still. lol
  • jhansonxi
    His head would make a nice basketball. It's about the correct shape and size.
  • fuser
    Ballmer is a freak.
  • TheMan1214
    Thats some battle scream? :p
  • hemelskonijn
    If not for microsoft i think he would be a nut in a huge fruitcake storage and when allowed to get out of his jacket he might run a fantasy baseball league.

    Seriously i thinks its cool people can get excited about the things they like but to take this guy serious is almost like being a bigger nut yourself.
  • doomtomb
    I think he is more of a cheerleader than a coach in that vid
  • Mr_Man
    Not that I don't love me some Ballmer, but where is the news here? Did Tom's do an interview, or was this something he just said recently and you stuck a new quote at the end of several paragraphs?
  • wymer100
    I wonder if he'd be paired with Isiah Thomas as GM.