Love him, hate him - Jerry was no 'crumb'

March 22, 2017
In this Sept. 21, 1988, file photo, Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan, right, is all smiles after he signed a new contract with the NBA basketball team as general manager Jerry Krause looks on during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois. Krause, the executive behind the Bulls' six titles, has died, the team announced on Tuesday. He was 77.

CHICAGO (AP) Respected and reviled in his hometown, this much can't be argued when it comes to Jerry Krause: He helped take the Chicago Bulls to heights few teams have reached.

Krause, the general manager of the Bulls during a 1990s dynasty that included six NBA championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading the way, has died. He was 77.

The Bulls confirmed his death on Tuesday.

A Chicago native, Krause spent 18 seasons leading the Bulls' front office and was a two-time NBA executive of the year. He helped put together a run that ranks among the most successful in NBA history and made the franchise a worldwide brand.

"The entire Bulls organisation is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause," chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "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."

With Jordan and Pippen soaring around Chicago and Phil Jackson pulling the strings from the sideline, the Bulls dominated in a way few teams have. Krause, who took over as general manager in 1985, was responsible for surrounding Jordan with the pieces that helped create two championship three-peats in the 1990s.

"Jerry was a key figure in the Chicago Bulls' dynasty of the 1990s and meant so much to the Bulls, the White Sox and the entire city of Chicago," Jordan, the Charlotte Hornets' owner, said through his spokesperson. "My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends."

For all their success, it wasn't necessarily a smooth ride. Jordan referred to him as "crumbs" for doughnut residue on his clothes. A feud with Krause contributed to Jackson's departure and the disintegration of the dynasty following the second three-peat in 1998.

It didn't help Krause's image when he was quoted as saying, "Players and coaches don't win championships, organisations win championships."

He insisted he was simply trying to give scouts and employees behind the scenes their due and that he actually said this: "Players and coaches alone don't win championships, organisations."

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