CHICAGO — Jerry Krause, the Chicago Bulls’ general manager during their 1990s dynasty that saw them capture 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 organization 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 propelled two championship three-peats in the 1990s.
He hired Jackson from the Continental Basketball Association as an assistant to Doug Collins and fired Collins in favor of Jackson following a run to the Eastern Conference finals in 1989.
He also acquired Scottie Pippen in a 1987 draft day trade and also selected Horace Grant, a key figure in the first championship three-peat.
Draft picks such as Toni Kukoc, Stacey King and B.J. Armstrong also played prominent roles on those teams. So did players he signed such as John Paxson, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington and Ron Harper. The same goes for Dennis Rodman, the flamboyant force on the glass who was acquired in a trade.
“I owe a lot to Jerry. If it weren’t for him bringing me to Chicago in 1985, I probably never would have been a Bull,” said Paxson, now the executive vice president of basketball operations. “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.”
Krause is survived by his wife, Thelma; his two children, Stacy and David; and, his grandchildren Colette, Josh, Mia and Riley. Memorial information was pending.