10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jerry Reinsdorf

Many sports enthusiasts know Jerry Reinsdorf as the owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, but there is much more to this sports mogul than meets the eye. Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about Jerry Reinsdorf.

1. He’s a Brooklyn Native

Although he’s strongly associated with Chicago, Reinsdorf was actually born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, in a typical working-class neighborhood. His father was a sewing machine mechanic, and from him, Reinsdorf learned the importance of hard work and dedication – values that would later fuel his success.

Those humble beginnings served to ground him, even when he rose to the status of an accomplished businessman and professional sports team owner.

2. He’s a Law School Graduate

Before venturing into professional sports, Reinsdorf built a successful career in law. He graduated from George Washington University Law School in 1960. The knowledge and skills he acquired during his time here helped him negotiate major business and sports investment transactions later on.

Despite his law degree, Reinsdorf’s professional passion for many years has been in the realm of real estate investment. He co-founded Balcor, a real estate investment company, that was later sold to Shearson Lehman Brothers.

3. His First Sports Purchase was the White Sox

Reinsdorf entered the world of professional sports in 1981 when he led a group of investors in purchasing the Chicago White Sox. The team was in a financial slump at the time, but under Reinsdorf’s ownership, it has since experienced a major turnaround, including a World Series victory in 2005.

His decision to buy the White Sox may seem impulsive, considering his earlier career choices, but in actuality, it was driven by a desire to keep the team in Chicago he considered his adopted home.

4. He also owns the Chicago Bulls

In 1985, the same year that the NBA Draft brought superstar Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls, Reinsdorf purchased majority control of the team for $9.2 million. Under his leadership, the team saw an era of prosperity and worldwide fame largely due to the Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s.

Though he first became known through his ownership of the White Sox, his time at the helm of the Bulls has solidified his name amongst the most influential figures in professional sports.

5. He led Chicago Stadium’s Demolition

Reinsdorf was instrumental in the demolition of the old Chicago Stadium that took place in 1994. As new owner of the Bulls in the 80s, he realized the need for a more modern facility and spearheaded the construction of the United Center, a multi-purpose arena in the West Loop.

Today, the United Center stands as a monument to modern sports entertainment and serves as the home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks.

6. He’s a Philanthropist

Despite his significant business stature, Reinsdorf is also known for his philanthropic efforts. Both the Chicago Bulls and White Sox have extensive community service programs, and a significant part of their work in the community centers around donations made by the Jerry Reinsdorf Charity Foundation.

Most notably, he established CharitaBulls, a charitable organization designed specifically to assist local charities in raising much-needed funds, in 1992.

7. He was Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

In 2016, Jerry Reinsdorf was honored with induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His influence on the game, from his acquisition of the White Sox to his revitalization of the Bulls, has been monumental, and his recognition was well-deserved.

This induction not only acknowledged his business accomplishments, but also his commitment to the players and the fans.

8. He’s a Family Man

Despite his demanding work life, Reinsdorf has always prioritized his family. He and his late wife, Martyl, were married for 62 years until her passing in 2013. Together, they had four children who have offered the loyal mogul strong support over the years.

His son, Michael Reinsdorf, has followed in his father’s footsteps and currently serves as the President and COO of the Chicago Bulls.

9. He Sold a Michael Jordan Contract for $33,000

In 1997, Jerry Reinsdorf sold an original contract of Michael Jordan’s 1984 employment with the Chicago Bulls for $33,000 at an auction. It was a record deal at the time, reflecting Jordan’s extraordinary global popularity.

The document, signed by both Reinsdorf and Jordan, made history in the sports memorabilia market, reflecting the astonishing financial dominance of the NBA.

10. He Overcame Health Issues

Despite having a heart attack in 1991, Reinsdorf bounced back. His ordeal brought him a fresh perspective on life and his health. This led him to reduce work related stress and focus more on maintaining a balanced lifestyle. After his recovery, he hit back harder and pushed his teams to greater successes.

His health scare did not dim his dedication to his teams and fans. Instead, it reminded him about the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.


Jerry Reinsdorf is more than just the face behind the White Sox and the Bulls. He is a dedicated businessman, sports enthusiast, philanthropist, and devoted family man. Hopefully, these ten facts have given you a deeper understanding of him.

Chicago Bulls Front Office

Chicago White Sox Front Office

Jerry Reinsdorf Hall of Fame