- Jon Greenberg, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- After winning six championships in his nearly three decades as chairman of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf was nominated to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for 2013.
If he is elected, it will be the fifth straight year someone with Bulls ties will be enshrined in Springfield, Mass.
“I am both surprised and humbled by the nomination,” Reinsdorf said in a statement to the team’s website. “To be even mentioned in the company of current members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an honor.”
The finalists will be announced over the All-Star weekend in February and then the class will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in April.
Already a partial owner of the Chicago White Sox, Reinsdorf led a group to buy a controlling interest the Bulls and became chairman on March 13, 1985. He picked a good time. Thanks to Michael Jordan and Co., the Bulls won six titles in the 1990s. That total is the second-most in league history for any owner, behind Jerry Buss’ 10 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Michael Reinsdorf, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Bulls, said he hadn’t yet talked to his father, who was out of town on business Monday, but they did exchange emails.
“It’s a great honor,” the younger Reinsdorf said. “Just to have his name bantered about with some of those names on the list is very exciting.”
Reinsdorf, who presided over the Sox's World Series win in 2005, has loomed large over the city’s sports scene. While his popularity has waxed and waned in Chicago, Reinsdorf is eminently well-respected throughout the sports world.
"He's great,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Probably deserves to be in two Hall of Fames. He's a great owner. From a leadership standpoint, he sets the tone for our franchise. He's fair, he's honest and you can't ask for anything more than that. I think he understands what it takes to win, he has a great will to win, so those things are critical.”
Don’t expect too much campaigning, though.
“I’m sure he has a self-deprecating comment when I talk to him, like ‘What am I doing in this list?’ “ Michael Reinsdorf said. “We chatted by email back and forth and I told him he should be honored. I think he is.”
Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is nominated for the basketball Hall of Fame.