Bulls

Bulls: Jerry Reinsdorf humble in response to Hall of Fame inclusion

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Bulls: Jerry Reinsdorf humble in response to Hall of Fame inclusion

Humbled and a bit surprised, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf took his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in stride when news was announced Monday afternoon in Houston, the site of the Final Four.

Ranking it as “just a personal accomplishment” when asked where the highest honor the sport of basketball can bestow upon an individual, the owner of the Chicago Bulls took more pride in the championships he helped steward and the way the franchise has become a national brand in the past 20 years.

“On an individual level, this would be the highest,” Reinsdorf said in a television interview. “But the important thing about being in sports is to win championships. So I’d say the World Series (with the White Sox in 2005) and six championships would be tied for number one and this would come behind it because it’s just a personal accomplishment.”

Being inducted along with larger than life personalities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, along with one of the greatest female basketball players of all time, Sheryl Swoopes, and former NBA player Yao Ming, Reinsdorf’s inclusion into basketball mortality will likely take a backseat in September as the focus will be on the aforementioned.

[MORE: Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf named to basketball Hall of Fame]

But his importance to Chicago and the Bulls franchise hasn’t gone unnoticed by the decision makers, as Reinsdorf has seen more NBA titles since taking ownership of the Bulls in 1985 than any NBA owner not named Dr. Jerry Buss, who oversaw the Lakers win eight NBA championships.

“I was able to put together a great organization with great people. Jerry Krause (former Bulls GM) is really the architect of the championships, Phil (Jackson) and Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen),” Reinsdorf said. “Then turning everything over to my son Michael to run in the last couple years. Then John Paxson and Gar Forman, wonderful people, really talented. I’m just proud of the people I have with the Bulls.”

Since the NBA/ABA merger, only the late William Davidson (Pistons), Jerry Colangelo (Suns) and Buss have been let into the Basketball Hall of Fame as owners. Reinsdorf makes no bones about it, that taking over in Chicago at the same time a kid from North Carolina was in a star-studded rookie year had plenty of do with his success.

“Well having Michael Jordan was having Babe Ruth, I mean, the greatest player of all time in his sport and it was something I tried to appreciate and enjoy all of those years,” Reinsdorf said. “That was just luck. I can’t take any credit for acquiring Michael Jordan. He just fell into our laps. It was an incredible experience.”

An experience Reinsdorf helped foster and turn into six NBA titles in an eight year span by hiring Krause, whom he’ll likely mention at his induction speech months from now as someone who deserves the honor as much.

He hired Krause and allowed his basketball executives make the decisions, including the one that enabled Krause to hire Phil Jackson in 1989 after firing Doug Collins. The trio of Krause, Jackson and Jordan helped the Bulls elevate themselves to the NBA mountaintop, enduring controversy, retirement and attrition at a time when the NBA’s popularity was exploding across the world.

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Reinsdorf was low-key, preferring to let those outstretched personalities have the glory.

“I don’t know if I’m impressed but I’m proud,” said Reinsdorf of building the Bulls brand. “Proud of the fact the Bulls are a worldwide brand and wherever you go around the world, you see Bulls merchandise. It used to be, you traveled abroad, you say you were from Chicago, they’d say Al Capone. Now they say Chicago Bulls. I am proud of that.”

Come September, for as long as he so chooses while on that stage, Reinsdorf will have the stage all to himself.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.