Celebrity Apprentice: Clipper Nation Challenge

The first installment of Celebrity Apprentice on 1/30/2017 was called “I’m Going Full Ballmer.” What was left of the teams met up with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Staples Center, where Lisa Leslie felt right at home. “I’m the first women to dunk in the NBA and actually, this is exactly where I dunked the ball…” Boy George was back and he was the one sent to Team Prima.

The task at hand was a high-energy time-out promotion for Clipper Nation at a L.A. Clippers vs. Phoenix Sun game that night. Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer was going to pick the winner and what the team really needed to do, according to him, was fit with his philosophy on how to win ball games. “Clipper Nation has to come alive,” he said. They also had to create a signature Clippers t-shirt that will be distributed to the crowd. The criteria: overall presentation creativity, most exciting t-shirt design and firing up the crowd. Ballmer doubled the usual $25K prize match, so the prize was $75,000 to the project manager’s charity.

Predictably, two sports celebrities, Ricky and Lisa, opted to be project managers.

Team Arete: Project Manager: Ricky Williams. Members: Laila Ali, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Matt Iseman

Team Prima: Project Manager: Lisa Leslie. Members: Boy George, Carson Kressley

On Team Arete, Matt Iseman decided to take a page out of Chael Sonnen’s playbook and riff off a motivational video Steve Ballmer did when he ran Microsoft. Ballmer hollers “I love this company” and Matt migrates that to “We love this team.” The others think that’s a capital idea, particularly as Matt gave a very high energy demonstration of how it would work. Not one of them stopped to think that copying Ballmer was in no way creative! It was not a brilliant idea like Chael’s was when he researched Warren Buffett’s taste in candy to help make an *original* candy. Sho ’nuff, when Ballmer came in, he knew his own words when he heard them and made no bones about calling it shameless pandering.

On Team Prima, Lisa felt she was a natural as a basketball star. On the one hand, when she looked at her team, she thought: “Dude, we are so in trouble right now.” She wanted Boy George to write an original song, an anthem even, and she tasked Carson with the t-shirt part. Lisa knew letting either of them near a basketball would be a disaster, but she also seemed to be afraid to touch one herself for fear of missing the shot. The idea of adding a rap came up and Lisa jumped on the opportunity to fulfill a dream of hers. Carson came up with a little rap that got a big laugh: “I like their outfits, they’re so tall, they make me look so little, so small.” Patrick Schwarzenegger, the voice of doom, stopped by and was dismayed to learn that Lisa would not be handling a basketball. He didn’t seem to think Boy George could get the crowd going, original song or not, and he surely was not impressed with the “rap by Lisa” plan.

The presentations went off a lot better than you might have thought. The Governor and Ballmer seemed to be enjoy both but it was hard to tell what they didn’t like amidst the chaos.

In the boardroom, The Governor joked that between him and Ballmer, they are worth $25 billion: $24.5 for Ballmer and half a billion for him. Patrick, he said, has nothing. Word! That was mean. They all gave Lisa flack for not being the basketball personality that she is out there. Ricky said he worried that Lisa had an advantage on that one thing but he still felt good because her team mates were of no help in that department. Ballmer jumped on him over the copycat aspect. They hijacked his words and he called the way they used it “goofy.” Even though it started well, it fell flat because they failed to push the crowd on chanting but they still did better on audience participation than Team Prima. Ballmer loved Boy George’s song. He sang it and said he had plans for it. Team Prima won on creativity and Arete on audience participation. The tie breaker was going to be the t-shirts and Prima won that. The Governor was particularly annoyed that the Arete t-shirts had to be unwrapped. You didn’t have to rip anything off Prima’s shirt to look at it.

So Lisa won the $75,000. Her charity, the Semper Fi Fund, helps service members get back on their feet when they return home.

Ricky and Matt both offered Laila up as the sacrificial lamb, knowing full well the reason she couldn’t contribute that much to this task was because she was sick. She did the best she could. Think about how unfair that was! Being sick is a valid reason for not being able to put in as much effort as the others. Matt, whose copycat idea lost them the creative aspect, should have been Ricky’s first pick. But he singled out Brooke for the failed t-shirt and Laila for her lack of energy. Matt got a pass, and that may be why Ricky got terminated. But maybe not, because it still would have come back on Ricky that he signed off on that foolish idea. Laila saved herself from being terminated by fighting back, pointing out that the only time Team Prima won when she was on that team was when she was project manager. She said Ricky was the one who should get the gate. Brooke agreed that Ricky’s lack of creativity is why they blew it. So it was off to the chopper for Ricky Williams.

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