Steve Ballmer: LA Clippers are "a damn good team!"

The Los Angeles Clippers begins a new era with the NBA season opening next week, and new owner Steve Ballmer is transitioning into his role with abounding enthusiasm for his team.

"A damn good team! Yes we are. We are very good. We have not only one of the best, but one of the most exciting teams. We've got the top coach. Yeah baby!" Ballmer said excitedly Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

The former Microsoft CEO, who resigned from the tech giant in January, made headlines when he paid $2 billion for the team -- three times more than anyone has paid for an NBA franchise.

"I love basketball. There's just no sport as great as basketball. There's poetry, the speed, the decision-making. I just love it. I love it. And for me to be involved is a heck of a lot of fun," he said.

Ballmer said he also wanted a team in his home of Seattle or Los Angeles.

"And somehow one of the LA teams came up for sale ... well, we all know that story, but I grabbed at that opportunity," he said.

The team was put on the market after former Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist remarks, leading NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ban Sterling from the NBA for life.

"I had no clue how to do this, and I don't think anybody else did," Ballmer said about the purchase of the team post-Sterling scandal.

Among those who were reportedly interested in buying the team were Oprah and David Geffen.

"It all got kind of cobbled together, but I came and introduced myself first because I figured everybody else, Geffen, they're all in LA. I just figured I'd better introduce myself -- hello, I'm from Seattle," Ballmer said. "And I knew what I was willing to pay, what I wanted to pay, or was willing to pay, anyway."

He wouldn't reveal his cutoff, however.

"Come on! You don't ever go back and reveal your negotiating strategies... because then you can't play ahead the next time," Ballmer said. "You got to keep playing poker in life."

Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, ended up selling the team to Ballmer.

"[Shelly] was very gracious with me during the process," Ballmer said. "I just tried to say 'Hey, I really want to own this team. I have no intent to move it to Seattle, despite the fact that Seattle is our home. We'll commute down.'"

Ballmer has failed in two previous efforts to buy NBA teams. He was part of investment groups that tried to keep the Sonics in Seattle and purchase the Sacramento Kings.

"It's like everything Charlie. It's version 3 before we get it right," he said to "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose. "It was my third pass."

One of the reasons why purchasing the Clippers appealed to him was because the Clippers already had a stadium, albeit one they share with the Lakers.

"For me that was a feature, at least for now, to not have to think about building an arena when buying a team, because Seattle, Milwaukee, some of the other situations I looked at -- building an arena is a big project," Ballmer said. "I was glad to buy a team and then we can worry about arenas later."

Ballmer's infectious enthusiasm will move the team forward.

"Whatever's gotten us here, we're going to take the Clippers to the next level," Ballmer said.

Read what Ballmer had to say about his time as Microsoft CEO.