The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced earlier today that Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has been inducted into the Class of 2016 by the Hall of Fame’s Contributor Committee.
Reinsdorf headed a group that purchased the Bulls on March 13, 1985. During his tenure as Chairman of the franchise, the team has won six NBA Championships (1991-93, 1996-98), advanced to the postseason 24 times, reached the Eastern Conference Finals seven times, claimed eight Central Division titles and won .552 (1,384-1,122) of its games.
The Reinsdorf-era Bulls have featured six NBA MVPs (five by Michael Jordan and one for Derrick Rose), three Rookie of the Year winners, three Executive of the Year winners and two Coach of the Year honorees. The Bulls also own the two best single-season victory totals in NBA history, topped by the 1995-96 team’s record 72 wins. Under his ownership, the Bulls have led the NBA in attendance 10 times, including the last six straight seasons, and currently own a sellout streak of 250 consecutive games.
“It is a very humbling honor to be selected as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Reinsdorf on his induction. “Making the Hall of Fame has long been considered the top individual honor that one can achieve in any sport, but for me, I feel it is a culmination of all the input and effort afforded me from so many other people over the years, that put me in this position today. It’s an exciting honor and a day I won’t soon forget.”
Off of the court, Reinsdorf and the team’s charity arm, Chicago Bulls Charities, have supported the Chicago area community through a variety of efforts. Chicago Bulls Charities places particular giving emphasis on youth education, health and wellness, and violence prevention, and has supported worthy organizations throughout Chicagoland including: Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club and Chicago Bulls Family Life Center; Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center; City Year Chicago; Youth Guidance; Mercy Home for Boys & Girls; Ronald McDonald House Charities; Bright Pink; and Gilda’s Club Chicago. The Bulls, under Reinsdorf’s leadership, provided funding to help establish Chicago Bulls College Prep School on the west side of Chicago in 2009. A Noble Street Charter School, CBCP’s first graduating class walked in June 2013, and 100% of the 165 seniors graduated and were accepted to a four-year college. The franchise also promotes sports to thousands of children each year through the programs and outreach provided by the Bulls/Sox Training Academy, which opened in 2001.
Reinsdorf has been widely recognized for his professional, civic, and charitable contributions. In 2015, the Bulls were named the inaugural ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The award celebrates and recognizes how members of the sports industry use sport to serve communities and make a positive impact. In 2013, he received the SportsBusiness Daily/Journal Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his record of business and philanthropic success. In 2012, Reinsdorf, also Chairman of the Chicago White Sox, and the White Sox received the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in sports philanthropy, while in 2011, he received the Jefferson Award, one of the nation’s top honors for community service and volunteerism, Major League Baseball’s Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence, and the Barnes and Thornburg Jackie Robinson Award for diversity in the workplace.
Reinsdorf was the 1997 recipient of the Order of Lincoln Award, the State of Illinois’ highest award. He has also been honored by such organizations as: Keshet, Interfaith Organizing Project, American Academy of Achievement, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Trial Lawyers Club of Chicago, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago Jewish Sporting Hall of Fame, National Jewish Sporting Hall of Fame and Chicago Sports Hall of Fame. He has been awarded the Chicago Park District’s 1990 Chicagoan of the Year Award, the PUSH Bridgebuilder Award, National Italian-American Friendship Award, Northwestern University’s Award of Merit, U.S. Air Force American Spirit Award, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Mayor’s Medal of Honor, Guardian of Children Award from the Jewish Council of Youth Services, Sports Lawyers Award of Excellence and an honorary degree in Humane Letters from Illinois College. Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities has twice conferred its Hallmark Award to Reinsdorf in recognition of his efforts.
In addition to Reinsdorf, the Class of 2016 also includes Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes, Tom Izzo, John McLendon, Zelmo Beaty, Cumberland Posey and longtime NBA referee Darell Garretson. The Class of 2016 will be enshrined on Sept. 9 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.