"They're under such a tight schedule here that we said, 'Can you stop the cutting for eight minutes?" said Silver. "And they said, 'No. That's the only way we can open the door on time."

Even Clippers owner Steve Ballmer's signature, decibel-raising remarks couldn't drown out the sound of chainsaws and heavy machinery throughout the presentation, confirming news that first surfaced late last week. Construction will continue through the end of July, when the team moves all of its basketball and commercial operations, currently spread from the Crypto.com Arena downtown to its training facility in Playa Vista, into a single, nearly $2 billion building for 2024. 25 NBA seasons.

Ballmer said he didn't remember the NBA giving the All-Star Game to an arena that hadn't yet been finished, and Silver, sitting to his left under the steel bones of the massive, two-sided "halo" scoreboard that encircled the court from above, shook his head.

"We want this to be the penultimate basketball experience on the planet," Ballmer said. "As good as it can be. Peak, peak."

Tuesday was Silver's first appearance at the new arena; part of his tour was led by Ballmer, who discussed technology that would allow the team to determine when fans take their seats, how loud they cheer and offer discounts if customers prefer. To reinforce this great behavior." Behind a hoop will be a section of bleachers that Ballmer has long called the wall of sound, stretching from the court to the top row of the arena. Last week, the team announced the conditions under which fans who want to sit in the section must be "certified" by the team as Clippers fans.

Silver later told a small group of journalists: "I think at this point, in my 32 years in the NBA, I've seen just about every major arena in the world." "And this is unlike anything I've ever seen."

Ballmer called the new arena "basketball heaven," just as Silver used the term to describe the league's All-Star weekend. The images from 10 years ago, when Silver, in his first major move as commissioner of the league, banned the team's previous owner, Donald Sterling, for life for using racial slurs in a recorded conversation, were not easily imagined. The punishment paved the way for the team to change ownership and for Ballmer to be bought out in the spring of 2014.

Silver had known Ballmer for years by then, and not only because of Ballmer's previous attempts to move a team to Seattle and his later attempt to buy the Milwaukee Bucks. Silver said that as a Microsoft executive, he watched YouTube clips of Ballmer's raucous sales meetings.

"He was jumping up and down, sweating profusely and yelling at the crowd, and I thought, this can't be real, this is just a show," Silver said. "... But it's authentic, it's real, he is. I think you're seeing the unpolished Steve. He's incredibly passionate, he's enthusiastic about everything he does and I think we're seeing the results here in this new Intuit Dome. "

Under Ballmer, the Clippers have long felt constrained by their lease at Crypto.com Arena, believing they were often at a disadvantage when taking the least desirable dates between co-tenants the Lakers and Kings. Unlike the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, co-hosted by the Lakers and Clippers, the 2026 edition will be entirely Clippers, and Silver said nothing connected to All-Star weekend will be held at Crypto.com Arena.