clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Counterpoint: Jerry Reinsdorf can go fly a kite

Allen And Company Annual Meeting Draws Top Business Leaders To Sun Valley, Idaho
that shirt tho
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

I feel a compelling need to respond to the article posted this morning about Jerry Reinsdorf. Because it was way too nice.

BlogABull may be ‘my’ site, but we do have several writers. So like that hagiography (both by and here) of Reinsdorf intimated, I too will show unreasonable loyalty to the other writers and didn’t kill that post entirely.

But we can’t let BlogABull go soft, and thus cannot let such a thing stand unchallenged! Somewhat tongue-in-cheek and rushed and probably not even accurate, but still...

First and foremost, the 6 NBA Titles are Michael Jordan’s. Reinsdorf just happened to be there and not screw it up. Let’s hope we don’t have to read about Dan Gilbert’s Hall of Fame cred in 20 years. So after throwing that Reinsdorf accomplishment out, he no longer has any case for the Hall of Fame (and that’s saying something, given the joke that is the Basketball Hall of Fame), and instead we can give Jordan a second plaque (ok, maybe just give Jerry Krause one?).

Next, and not to claim myself anything close to an expert on money-making nor be an agent of capitalist-shaming, but ‘dorf accumulated his wealth to buy the Bulls and White Sox through some, let’s just call them ‘inelegant’, means. Balcor “was in the business of finding tax shelters. He realized there was money to be made by combining his clients' assets and putting the cash in real estate and out of the hands of the IRS.”

Reinsdorf sold his company to American Express in 1982 for $102 million and used the proceeds to purchase interests in the White Sox and Bulls.

Good timing. The 1986 Tax Reform Act...eliminated virtually all the provisions that Balcor relied on to provide positive returns. As a result, the business that was sold in 1982 for $102 million resulted in a $250 million annual loss for American Express.

And it’s certainly timely to question the ‘business success’ of both the Bulls and White Sox home stadiums when it comes to the affect on the taxpayer. Both in how they were originally conceived and the continued shenanigans to keep them profitable.

But yeah, that’s just sportz business. Which is acknowledged as shrewd and all and good for him, I just don’t agree that it should be celebrated.

And the loyalty. Oh man the loyalty. As a fan of the sports team, I don’t care one bit if the office manager gets a good holiday bonus. I want money spent on the team that I’m enjoying: on players, coaches, and basketball operations.

No need to get too into the specifics, just start here and read back, oh, 10 years or so. But in summation this is a franchise that has always enjoyed big-market revenues with mid-market ambitions. I’m convinced the recent D-League expansion draft was done by Jim Paxson at a Scottsdale Panera.

That’s right, Jim Paxson, the disgraced former Cavs executive that happens to be John’s brother. John, who wanted to quit this job years ago but Reinsdorf’s loyalty not only kept in involved but earned him a promotion. Which opened the door for Gar Forman to weasel through and not only entrench himself but bring everyone ever to drive through Ames, Iowa with him. Forman was here with Tim Floyd, something that loyalty to Krause foisted on us all. The remnants of Krause’s dynasty are peppered all over the organization, from Scottie Pippen’s job as courtside seat occupier to Randy Brown staying on the coaching staff until he can earn his sold championship ring back.

And you can’t even say Reinsdorf delegates (his other leadership tenet, reportedly) appropriately. He likes to delegate only in so much to where he can then come and ‘save the day’ when things go awry. He also likes to be personally involved in contract negotiations, especially when it comes to coaches as they’re not required to have representation. Even in the Steve Aschburner profile, this bit:

Reinsdorf grew so close with former Bulls coach Doug Collins that, after firing him in 1989, he ruled out Collins' return to the position 19 years later because of the toll another go-round would take on their friendship. presented as a positive? What the hell?

In short, Reinsdorf is extremely accomplished, but deserves less-so praise than maybe a solemn acknowledgement. Maybe, like, a subtle bow of the head while foisting a middle-finger behind your back.