Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause has has died at the age of 77.
USA TODAY Sports
Longtime Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause died Tuesday afternoon, USA TODAY Sports confirmed with the team. He was 77.
Krause, who served as the Bulls general manager from 1985-2003, helped lead the team to six titles in eight years during the Michael Jordan era. He won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award after the 1987-88 and 1995-96 seasons.
During his tenure with the Bulls, Krause, a Chicago native, brought in some of the most storied figures in franchise history to accompany Jordan, including Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson, who was coaching in the Continental Basketball Association at the time.
“The news of Jerry Krause’s death is a sad day for the Chicago Bulls and the entire NBA community,” Jackson, who is now president of the New York Knicks, said in a statement. “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 joining the Bulls’ front office, Krause served as a scout for various MLB and NBA teams. After leaving the Bulls in 2003, citing health problems, Krause returned to baseball, where he worked with a handful of organizations, including the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks up until his retirement last year.
“Jerry Krause was a homegrown legend who built a dynasty recognized around the world,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “He will forever be remembered as the architect of one of the most dynamic eras in Chicago sports history, who made the Bulls synonymous with Chicago and brought basketball to the world stage. Amy and my thoughts and prayers are with the Krause family and all the fans across the city and around the world who are mourning his loss.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, Krause battled significant health issues, including osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone. Krause also dealt with heart problems which required multiple surgeries, as well as sleep apnea.
“Jerry was one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around, and he was one of the best talent evaluators ever,” Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who originally hired Krause, said. “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.”
Krause was a finalist to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year as a contributor.
“I owe a lot to Jerry,” said Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, who played under Krause from 1985-1994. “If it weren’t for him bringing me to Chicago in 1985, I probably never would have been a Bull. He had a great eye for talent, and his ability to build a team is unrivaled. He’s one of the best the league has ever seen. We’re keeping Thelma and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
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