Hall of Fame recognition makes for a reflective time.
Jerry Reinsdorf has five months to prepare his speech for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. But the Bulls chairman certainly has plenty of memories from which to choose.
Reinsdorf sat Tuesday for a stroll down memory lane. The Bulls' six championships in eight seasons marked one of professional sports' most popular dynasties. And Reinsdorf shared thoughts on moments from that and principals from his three-decade stewardship of the Bulls.
On his favorite memory
The shot on (Craig) Ehlo (in 1989). Michael (Jordan) makes the shot, buzzer blows, we're in Cleveland. I'm standing there with (general manager) Jerry Krause and (administrator) Karen Stack. The three of us were hugging each other, jumping up and down. All of a sudden, I realized where we were. I said to Krause, 'We better get the heck out of here before they kill us.' That was the start of our success. It all grew from there.
On breaking through the Pistons
The night I knew we were going to win the championship was the night we lost the seventh game (of the 1990 Eastern Conference finals) in Detroit. I went down to the locker room after that game and there was something about the atmosphere that made me say, 'We're going to win next year.' And the next day, when the players were all working out at the (practice facility) Multiplex, that reinforced it for me.
On Doug Collins
The momentum started with Doug because Doug created a winning atmosphere.
On Phil Jackson
One of the greatest coaches of all-time and one of the most interesting people I've ever known. His interests are so varied. He's so well-read and really a bit of a philosopher. I don't know if I buy the Zen stuff. But he's very smart.
On Michael Jordan
Aside from being the greatest basketball player that ever lived, probably the most competitive athlete that I've ever known. It wouldn't matter what he was doing. He tries to kill you to win. I once said to Michael, 'You remind me of (boxer) Jake LaMotta.' And Michael said, 'Who's Jake LaMotta?' I explained to him and he liked it. Because you had to kill LaMotta to beat him. LaMotta lost a lot of fights. But he never was knocked out. And that was Michael. He kept coming and coming and coming.
On Scottie Pippen
Great ballplayer. He probably grew more than any player I've known. He came out of this modest background of 12 kids and his father was an invalid (affected by a stroke). When he came here, he was as unsophisticated a person that I ever had met. And he really grew. He was the perfect Robin to Batman.
On Dennis Rodman
He's a very, very interesting person because there were two Dennis Rodmans. There was the Dennis Rodman you knew in private, who was actually shy and just wanted to be one of the guys and practice hard. You had to make sure he got there on time. But once he got there, he was great. But he was so shy that if he sat and talked to you, he couldn't look you in the eye. He always looked down. Then, there was the public side and he was incredibly competitive. You have to say he was extremely smart at what he did. He outrebounded much bigger guys.
On Horace Grant
I finally forgave him. Time heals all wounds. He and I shook hands on a contract and then he denied it. I was very upset with him. I saw Horace last year at a fundraiser and said, 'I'm not mad at you anymore.' He said, 'My bad.'
On Bill Cartwright
Great guy, competitive player. It's just a shame that his elbow seemed to hit people inadvertently."
On John Paxson
One of the joys of my life. We got him for $50,000 more than 30 years ago. He's still here. John Paxson is one of the highest-character human beings that I know. Just a classy guy. Cares about the Bulls. I know he cares about me and everybody here.
On Steve Kerr
When (the Warriors) break our (72-10) record, it's going to ease the pain a little bit knowing that Steve Kerr did it. Just a solid guy with a solid family.
On Tim Floyd