Hall of Fame nominees revealed
Payton was named to the All-Defensive First Team for nine straight seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics, and he averaged at least 20 points a game in seven seasons.
Reinsdorf was nominated after six championships and nearly three decades as chairman of the Bulls. 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 on 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."
In total, 31 candidates are moving forward through selection from the North American committee.
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 in the Bulls and became chairman on March 13, 1985. He picked a good time. Thanks to Michael Jordan & Co., the Bulls won six titles in the 1990s. That total is the second-most in league history for any owner, behind Lakers owner Jerry Buss (10), who is already enshrined.
Reinsdorf, who presided over the White 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."