Chicago Bulls Fans Boooing Jerry Krause’s Widow Thelma Left Steve Kerr, Stacey King & DeMar DeRozan Devastated
Jerry Krause, the former general manager of the Chicago Bulls during their illustrious 1990s dynasty, occupies a unique place in NBA history. Despite his integral role in constructing a team that achieved six NBA championships, Krause’s legacy remains controversial among Bulls fans. This complex relationship stems from various decisions, interpersonal dynamics, and the challenges of maintaining a championship-caliber roster.
Krause played a pivotal role in assembling the iconic Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s. Working alongside owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Krause orchestrated key draft selections, trades, and free-agent acquisitions that brought together a formidable roster, including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson.
Despite the success on the court, Krause’s relationship with key players, especially Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, was often strained. Public disagreements and perceived slights contributed to an uneasy dynamic, with some players openly expressing their dissatisfaction with the front office.
One of the most controversial chapters of Krause’s legacy occurred after the Bulls’ sixth championship in 1998. Despite the team’s unparalleled success, Krause chose to dismantle the roster and initiate a rebuilding phase. This decision, which included not renewing coach Phil Jackson’s contract, left a bitter taste for fans who yearned for a continuation of the dynasty.
Krause’s famous quote, “Players and coaches don’t win championships; organizations win championships,” added fuel to the controversy. While the intention may have been to highlight the collective effort, it was perceived by some as diminishing the contributions of star players and coaching staff.
Krause, who passed away in 2017, still is a very controversial figure amongst Bulls fans. This also showed last night, during the Chicago Bulls’ Ring of Honor ceremony that was held at halftime of their game against the Golden State Warriors. There, things took an unexpected turn and it ended up being quite unpleasant. Since none of the iconic trio – Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman – made an appearance during the halftime ceremony, the Bulls opted to show video messages.
When Krause’ was honored, Bulls fans loudly booed as Krause’s name was announced. Krause’s widow, Thelma Krause, who was present, understandably didn’t take the boos of her late husband well and was visibly emotional.
Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause was boo’d during the team’s Ring of Honor ceremony at halftime.
His wife Thelma, who appeared in his place, was captured on the big screen and visibly emotional during the booing.pic.twitter.com/7zLAtOTZvc
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) January 13, 2024
To blatantly put it: The boos, even though they were directed at Jerry Krause, were received by an elderly woman. Fortunately the Bulls fans’ reaction created a lot of headwind. Former Bulls player and current color commentator Stacey King, who played under Krause, absolutely went after these fans:
“I’m a little upset right now … We just had a remarkable ceremony, bringing back the legends and I’ll tell you what, Chicago is a sports town. What we witnessed today when Kerry 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.
Whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves. That’s not Chicago, that’s New York, Philly. Chicago’s not like that. We don’t have a reputation of being that way. Whether you like Jerry Krause or not, that man brought six championships here. He didn’t shoot a basket nor did he get a rebound, but he put six titles up in this arena. There’s a lot of teams that only have one. That was really classless. I was disappointed in the people that booed. It was a sad thing.”
Stacey King starts out the third quarter by calling out the fans who booed Thelma Krause: pic.twitter.com/Pf08cxRaSf
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) January 13, 2024
King wasn’t by far the only one who was outraged by the reaction. Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan also didn’t enjoy the boos one bit, saying that you can’t take away what Kraus created:
“That man has family, friends that are still here and ought to be appreciated. He shouldn’t be disrespected in no type of way by hearing boos. It just sucks that his family has to endure something like that. You can never take away what he created.”
DeMar DeRozan on Jerry Krause: “That man has family, friends that are still here and ought to be appreciated. He shouldn’t be disrespected in no type of way by hearing boos. It just sucks that his family has to endure something like that. You can never take away what he created.”
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 13, 2024
Golden State Warriors head coach and former Bulls player, Steve Kerr, also addressed the boos in his post game press conference, calling it ‘absolutely shameful’ and unbelievable.
“It’s shameful. It’s absolutely shameful. I cannot believe it. I’m devastated for Thelma and for the Krause family. What can we possibly be thinking… So the fans who booed, they know who they are and to me that’s absolutely shameful and I’m devastated by that.”
Steve Kerr’s reaction to Jerry Krause being boo’d during the Ring of Honor pic.twitter.com/iFlAI0pGYF
— Will Gottlieb (@Will_Gottlieb) January 13, 2024