Jerry Reinsdorf Rumors
The Chicago Bulls announced today that they have been named the inaugural ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The award, which was presented at a ceremony in Los Angeles last night, celebrates and recognizes how members of the sports industry use sport to serve communities and make a positive impact. “The Bulls feel a great sense of responsibility to give back to the city of Chicago and the people who give so much to us. The team’s commitment to helping others has been steadfast for many years, but it has been incredible to watch our work evolve and flourish over the last few years under Michael and Nancy’s leadership. I am very proud of the terrific job they have done engaging players, coaches, staff, corporate partners and community partners with the goal of helping others,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman. “We thank ESPN for this incredible honor and for recognizing the positive impact sports teams can have in a community.”
Those close to Thibodeau say that Reinsdorf’s statement stung the coach on Thursday, that he had treasured his relationship with the owner. Thibodeau has always admired Reinsdorf’s accomplishments – a self-made tycoon, a successful sports and media mogul – and always felt that Reinsdorf had been an ally for him. Reinsdorf wasn’t around much, though, and talked far more with management than the coach. Thibodeau lost Reinsdorf in the past year, and ultimately lost the job.
The Bulls have been in a bind because of the Thibodeau situation. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf has a long-standing aversion to paying coaches who are not currently working for him, but for the Bulls to be rid of Thibodeau, they would have to either fire him or move him to another team — a trade, of sorts, like the one that sent Doc Rivers from the Celtics to the Clippers in 2013 for a draft pick.
Major League Baseball teams have offered the chance to sleep in the outfield, so it was only a matter of time before a fan would have a chance to sleep in an NBA arena. The Chicago Bulls, in conjunction with Airbnb, the company that allows people to buy or sell a night’s stay in an apartment or home, announced Monday that they would give away a chance to stay in team owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s suite on the night of April 11.
“Tom Thibodeau isn’t being undermined at all,” said John Paxson, executive vice president of basketball operations. “What’s being undermined is the entire Bulls organization by Van Gundy, who has an agenda against our organization for whatever reason and has for years. I guess he thinks he’s trying to protect his friend, but he’s doing just the opposite. It’s pretty pathetic when you think about it, and truth be told he owes Jerry Reinsdorf an apology for his disparaging remarks.”