Steve Ballmer's voice tends to rise without warning, often mid-thought, like a verbal volcano.

"The first regular-season game, I'm excited for that," the new Clippers owner said Monday morning, referring to the Oct. 30 opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that left Ballmer's beloved Seattle in 2008.

Then it was as if someone handed Ballmer a bullhorn in his seat in the Lexus Club inside Staples Center.

"HA!" he continued, at what seemed like 30 decibels louder. "I'M EXCITED AS A CLIPPER AND I'M EXCITED AS A SEATTLEITE! I'M EXCITED!"

Ballmer's enthusiasm was the one constant during a nearly 40-minute interview with The Times a few hours before he chest-bumped and high-fived fans at a whirlwind welcome rally. The former Microsoft chief executive touched on topics including Coach Doc Rivers' future, the possible use of technology to enhance the fan experience at Staples Center and erstwhile co-owner Shelly Sterling's continued presence at games.

"She and me and the NBA all agreed she can come to games as part of the purchase consideration and that's quite reasonable," said Ballmer, whose $2-billion acquisition of the Clippers from Donald and Shelly Sterling closed last week. "Donald was banned, not Shelly. But I own the team, I'll make the decisions about where we take the team. They're the former owner; I'm the new owner."