Jerry Krause

Ring of Honor ceremony draws defeaning, yet classless reactions

The Bulls crowd, unfortunately, booed former general manager Jerry Krause

NBC Universal, Inc.

During halftime of the Bulls-Warriors game, the organization honored its first Ring of Honor class. The class included 13 inductees who provided invaluable contributions to the Bulls in its history.

The class included Artis Gilmore, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Johnny “Red” Kerr, Dick Klein, Jerry Krause, Toni Kukoc, Bob Love, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Jerry Sloan, Chet Walker, Tex Winter, and the 1995-96 team, which went 72-10 and won the 1996 NBA Championship.

Former head coach Phil Jackson, by far, drew the loudest cheers from the United Center crowd. The "Zenmaster" led the Bulls to six NBA championships and is widely considered one of the greatest coaches of all time.

Unfortunately, the crowd --- classlessly --- booed former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. His widowed wife, Thelma, was overcome with emotion from the scene. It was an unfortunate happening from what was an excellent, special night set up by the Bulls to honor the franchise's legends.

"What we witnessed today when Jerry Krause's name was called, and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I hurt for that lady. Brought her to tears. And whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves," NBC Sports Chicago color commentator Stacey King said on the broadcast.

"First of all, fans, we don't boo Jerry Krause," Ron Harper said during the game to a group of reporters in the Bulls' tunnel. "The man's done a lot of great things here. He may not be your favorite person, but we cheer to respect the man. And I didn't really appreciate that part. But for the whole ceremony, it was awesome."

Krause, who died in March 2017, led the Bulls front office when the organization won six championships in nine years. He won the NBA's Executive of the Year award in 1988 and 1996.

He was responsible for several franchise-altering moves including trading for Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley and drafting Scottie Pippen, and B.J. Armstrong and signing Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc. Krause was inarguably one of the league's best executives in its history, despite his sometimes ungratifying public perception.

King placed Krause's legacy perfectly in two sentences.

"Whether you like Jerry Krause or not that man brought six championships here," King said. "He didn't shoot a basket, nor did he get a rebound, but he put six titles up in this franchise."

Postgame, DeMar DeRozan also defended Krause.

"Something like that, rest his soul. He played a major part in the success that the Bulls had, creating one of the greatest teams ever assembled. You gotta give him credit," DeRozan said. "That man has family, friends that are still here and ought to be appreciated and shouldn't be disrespected in no type of way by hearing boos or anything like that. It just sucks that his family has to endure something like that.

"But you can never take away what he created. Without Jerry, it wouldn't be a historic Chicago Bulls history. You have to give him credit for as long as basketball is around."

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