It’s during quiet moments at home when the unexpected references mean the most to Tina Berto. “I’ll hear them mention it on the news, like, ‘ The Bulls are at the Berto Center,'” Tina says. “And something clicks inside me. It’s always a special moment to remember my mom. … The building has meant more to me as I’ve grown up. It’s the one part that isn’t about death or tragedy or anything messy. It’s just always happy.” Sheri Berto died 19 years ago Tuesday following outpatient surgery. The longtime assistant to White Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Berto left behind countless friends, her husband, Graziano, and daughter Tina, then 3.
Sheri Berto Rumors
Almost a year later, Reinsdorf made sure Sheri’s memory would survive her, naming the Bulls’ new practice facility in her honor. For players, it is state of the art. For the chairman and the Bertos, it is state of the heart. “We pass by it often, and I feel good — for Tina mostly,” Graziano says. “We used to go to the store when she was young and people would say, ‘The Berto Center’ and Tina would light up. She once told me, ‘We’re walking into a place named after my Mom. It feels like we’re walking on air.'”
Reinsdorf struggled for years to describe the void Sheri’s passing created. The team wore patches to honor her memory the remainder of the 1991-92 season, the Bulls’ second championship. Her death had an impact on players as much as the front office. “It impacted our team emotionally, especially for younger players,” says Stacey King, now a Bulls broadcaster. “She was like a mother figure to players like me and B.J. (Armstrong), who hadn’t been in the league very long. … She meant so much to the organization.” She meant even more at home. “Tina went through some rough times,” Graziano admits.