Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

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Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

In a city that has won only 24 professional championships since 1900, Jerry Reinsdorf is the proud owner of seven of them. He might even call it a Lucky 7.

Theres been luck at everything Ive ever done, Reinsdorf admits. Ive had a tremendous amount of good luck, a little bad luck along the way, but the good luck so outweighs it.

Like in 1985, when Reinsdorf and a group of investors bought the Chicago Bulls, who had a young, up-and-coming 22-year-old guard by the name of Michael Jordan. How much did they pay for the franchise?

16 million.

For some perspective, thats 5.1 million less than what Rashard Lewis is making himself this season with the Washington Wizards. Hes averaging 7.8 points a game.

At the time we made the deal, no one knew what Michael Jordan was going to be, Reinsdorf says. And I dont think they would have sold the team if they had known what he was going to be, so clearly I was lucky.

Reinsdorf shared these personal thoughts in a rare extended interview about his career for Inside Look: Jerry Reinsdorf which premieres Wednesday night on CSN at 7pm. The Bulls and White Sox Chairman prefers to stay more in the background, far away from any lights or microphones. In fact, when I asked him if he could talk to the Jerry Reinsdorf who first bought the White Sox in 1981 and tell him one thing, he replied, I would tell him dont be very accessible to the media.

But with cameras rolling inside his office at U.S. Cellular Field, Reinsdorf opened up about his time as owner of both Chicago teams, speaking about such topics as the 1994 baseball strike, where Reinsdorf was portrayed as one of the most hawkish owners behind it. Looking back, if the strike had been averted, I have to believe the game would have been better off, he said. Reinsdorf talks about the first time he met Jordan, how he flippantly predicted that the Bulls would win the NBA lottery and draft Derrick Rose despite having a 1.7 percent chance, and he reveals his all-time best White Sox team. Its not 2005.

We also had one of the games all-time greatest hitters make a surprise visit right in the middle of the interview.

Theres so much great content, we couldnt cram it all into a 30-minute show. So heres what you wont see Wednesday, but what you can read about today.

On not re-signing Mark Buehrle:

Mark Buehrle was a pillar of this franchise. He was a cornerstone, he was here for a long time. He came out of nowhere. He was a 38th round draft choice. He did everything we ever asked for him. He caught all the first pitches, he threw a perfect game, a no-hitter. Anytime you needed him to go to a school or a hospital, or whatever, Mark Buehrle was always there. But the fact is at his age, it didnt make sense for us to do what the Marlins were prepared to do for him. So he went, certainly with my blessing. I spoke to him and said, You gotta take it. You gotta take this deal. And Mark said, Ill be back in 4 years.
What he was doing the night the Bulls won the NBA lottery in 2008, giving them the number-one pick to draft Derrick Rose:

I was at a White Sox game that night, so we had the lottery on TV. We should have been ninth. They started making the picks. I was nervous that we were going to drop. So they start at 13, 12, 11, 10...now we're supposed to pop up. We don't pop up. Oh my God we're in the top 3 because that's where you go. Then we had to sweat it out as they went down, and then of course they get to the top 3 and they go to a few commercials, so we have to sweat that out. So number 3 comes up and its not us. At that point I know we're going to get what we think is a great player because its either going to be Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley. Then of course, the rest is history. We get number one, and we take Derrick. We wanted to bring Derrick along slowly, but Derrick didn't let us bring him along slowly. He was ready from the get-go.

How the Bulls were able to trade for Scottie Pippen on draft day in 1987:

I had heard of him, because all year long former Bulls GM Jerry Krause kept saying to me, Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas. I don't think anybody has seen him. We got to get this guy. This is the guy we got to have. And then Scottie went to one of the pre-draft camps I think in Norfolk, and everyone saw what there was. And then Jerry came to me in a panic and says, I dont know what to do now. Hes been discovered. He says weve got to trade up, we've got to somehow trade up to get this guy, and Jerry pulled it off. We got Scottie. So in that case, we knew what we were getting.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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