Michael Jordan approved The Last Dance despite scenes where he berated the late Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Scottie Pippen ripped Krause apart from the back of the bus then to the point where Phil Jackson needed to step in. Krause’s 2017 death failed to dull the disdain Chicago’s legends felt for him. Even Jackson took Pippen’s side over his 1998 contract dispute.
Krause’s alleged quote maintained that organizations, not players, win championships. He contended he said players cannot win titles alone. The quote stuck anyway, a tagline to his unpopular push to rebuild in the late 1990s. Attempts to trade Pippen, plus a one-year expiration date on Jackson and Jordan infuriated and emboldened the group.
The Last Dance points to Krause as the reason for the film’s title. Yet Bob Ryan, a self-proclaimed DOJ, “defender of Jerry,” remembered Krause as the reason Chicago consolidated around Jordan. The sly drafting of Pippen, Charles Oakley trade for Bill Cartwright, Dennis Rodman signing and hiring Jackson strengthened Jordan’s core. Ryan called on Jackson to defend Krause’s legacy in this week’s Dome Theory Sports and Culture on CLNS Media with Bobby Manning alongside Nick Gelso.
“(The sleuth) was a nickname part mockingly in jest, and also part out of utter respect for the quality that he did as a scout,” Ryan said.
ESPN’s documentary introduces Krause as a White Sox scout who stepped into the fray when Jerry Reinsdorf bought the Bulls. Ryan emphasized the respect Krause garnered in basketball circles as a talented and elusive worker, who would not share information or drink with other scouts.
He also didn’t draft Jordan, make Jordan or pay Jordan. So, as the documentary shows, Jordan wanted nothing to do with him and mocked his appearance. “Crumbs,” they called him. He had to be eating a muffin.
Ryan particularly hammered Jackson, the former Continental Basketball Association coach then ostracized from the NBA for his views and book “Maverick.” Krause gave him the job and platform to become one of the greatest coaches of all time where others wouldn’t.
“(Krause) couldn’t get out of his own way,” Ryan said. “Socially, Jerry messed himself up with these people. There’s no question, but I’m telling you he monumentally helped build that team … it’s disgraceful … to demean this guy now.”