Former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause died Tuesday at the age of 77. Krause, a Chicago native, became Bulls general manager in 1985 and helped the franchise win six championships in the 1990s.
“He should have been in the Hall of Fame,” Chicago’s The Score host David Schuster said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “It’s just really terrible – it’s really wrong – that he’s ultimately someday going to go in the Hall of Fame but he won’t live to see it.”
Krause was not exactly a revered figure in Chicago. In fact, many people blame him for breaking up the Bulls in 1998, but that storyline, while popular, is inaccurate.
“When the Bulls finally broke up in ’97-98, a lot of people blamed Jerry Krause for the breakup because there was such animosity during the championship years – and certainly at the end – between Jordan, Pippen, Phil Jackson and Jerry Krause,” Schuster said. “Jerry Krause was not a lovable figure by any stretch of the imagination, so most of the blame went against him. The reality was that Phil Jackson decided even before that last season when they won the championship that he had had enough (and) it was time for him to move on. So that was the start of the break-up right then, but again, Jerry Krause took the brunt of the blame. So for years, even today, a lot of people still feel this way. They felt that he was the one who busted up the dynasty, and that is just absolutely not true.”
Krause, to be sure, helped the Bulls in many ways.
“Obviously Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. I’ll never see anything like him, and he was fantastic beyond words,” Schuster said. “But he didn’t win anything before Jerry Krause became the general manager, and he never won after he left the Bulls, either. Neither did Scottie Pippen. Jerry Krause helped, as an architect, build not one, but two trilogies of championships around Michael Jordan. They used to say no team has ever won built around a shooting guard. Well, he did it not once, but twice. Jerry Krause did a lot. He was easy to hate, but people in the know should realize that he helped this organization win championships, and he should be in the Hall of Fame.”