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Steve Ballmer Says Clippers' Arena Plans Won't Be Stopped by Knicks' James Dolan

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 24: Owner Steve Ballmer of the LA Clippers talks at the LA Clippers Introductory Press Conference at Green Meadows Recreation Center on July 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer remains undeterred in light of New York Knicks owner James Dolan's efforts to stop him from building a new arena in Inglewood, California.

"We're on a path where we think we can build the arena, whatever happens in the litigation," Ballmer said per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

The owner made the comments Thursday in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his team is set to play a preseason game against the Houston Rockets.

Dolan is the chairman and chief executive of Madison Square Garden Co., which owns an arena (the Forum) less than a mile from the proposed building site for the Clippers' new home.

William D. Cohan of Vanity Fair provided insight into Dolan's lawsuits in a July 30 piece.

"Dolan is upset that with the city of Inglewood's help, Ballmer now has big plans to build a new basketball arena in Inglewood for the Clippers, not far from the Forum. Like with the Jets stadium in New York, Dolan fears that the Clippers' new stadium would occasionally compete with the Forum for concerts and other events, and hurt the returns on his $140 million. Dolan has argued in court filings that he thought he had an exclusive deal with [Inglewood mayor James T. Butts Jr.], and Inglewood, to make the renovated Forum the sole concert venue in the area and was shocked when he learned that Butts had backed Ballmer's bid for the Clippers' new stadium."

As for Ballmer, he remains focused on opening the arena regardless of the opposition, per Greif.

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“We're moving along. Certainly, suffice it to say, I think the other side is just trying to slow us down a little bit. But it's another thing where we're grinders. We're long-term players, and we're grinders. You want to hit us in the nose? OK! We'll keep moving. You can't knock us down.

“I'm not sure they understand what they've gotten themselves into, from my perspective, in the sense that we'll just keep going."

Per Greif, Ballmer also said that the Clippers "are going to open that arena one way or another."

Ballmer also faces other opponents, however. 

Per Brittany Martin of Los Angeles Magazine, "community groups in Inglewood have expressed concern over the development, citing fears of escalating gentrification and fundamental change to the neighborhood's character." 

Uplift Inglewood Coalition, one of the groups, is suing the city of Inglewood.

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reported that Ballmer is aiming for the arena to open in 2024, when the Clippers' lease at Staples Center is complete.

The Clippers' arena would have a variety of amenities, per Martin, including "a 26-acre complex with a sports medicine clinic, facilities for community sports groups, dining and retail spaces, a solar-panel-clad roof, indoor-outdoor 'sky gardens,' team offices, and an outdoor game-viewing area with massive digital screens."

It is expected to seat 18,500 people.