The mastermind and backbone of the entire 1985 Chicago Bulls organization, Jerry Krause, has died at the age of 77.
Krause was responsible for bringing superstar Michael Jordan to the bulls franchise, who led the team to six NBA championships.
Not only was Krause a great move in term of Bulls management, but he also helped Phil Jackson become a permanent coach for the NBA after taking him from the Continental Basketball Association as an assistant coach.
Krause also worked in the trade of Scottie Pippen in 1987 and drafting Horace Grant. According to ESPN, The Grant selection made it possible to trade popular power forward Charles Oakley to the New York Knicks for center Bill Cartwright in 1988. With Jordan, those players formed the core of the first three Bulls titles in 1991-93.
Following the retirement of Jordan in 1993 and his return in ’95, Krause signed Ron Harper and Dennis Rodman after drafting Toni Kukoc from overseas.
Although he was named NBA executive of the year twice, Krause was blamed for the falling apart of the Bulls franchise that he worked so hard to build up.
Before Krause retired from the Bulls in 2003, the coach that replaced him had a hard time helping the Bulls win more than 30 games during a season. Despite the dramatic fall-off, during Krause’s 18 seasons as Chicago’s GM, the Bulls won more games (808) than any other Eastern Conference team, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Michael Jordan made a statement to the Chicago Tribune saying, “Jerry was a key figure in the Bulls’ dynasty and meant so much to the Bulls, White Sox, and City of Chicago.” He added: “My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends.”
“The news of Jerry Krause’s death is a sad day for the Chicago Bulls and the entire NBA community. He was a man determined to create a winning team in Chicago — his hometown. Jerry was known as “The Sleuth” for his secrecy, but it was no secret that he built the dynasty in Chicago. We, who were part of his vision in that run, remember him today.”
Before Krause was the GM for the Bulls, he served as an NBA scout for numerous teams and baseball scout for the Chicago White Sox, whose owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, also owned the Bulls.
“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Jerry was one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around, and he was one of the best talent evaluators ever. Jerry played an integral role in our run of six championships in eight years. He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s. I would not have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame if it were not for Jerry. We will miss him tremendously, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Thelma and the Krause family.”
Current Bulls executive vice president John Paxson made a statement saying, “Jerry was a hard worker; he was a grinder. He loved getting down in the mud and evaluating talent. He deserves — it’s one of those things. I think at the Hall of Fame this past year when Jerry Reinsdorf was enshrined he said it. [Reinsdorf] was there because of the teams that Jerry Krause put together. And it’s a shame — I’m confident someday Jerry Krause will be in the Hall of Fame, but it’s one of those sad things now where it won’t be while he’s still with us and can be acknowledged for what he did accomplish.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, a memorial service for Krause will be held April 9. We will keep his family in our prayers.