Michael Jordan wasn’t the only one upset that Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry Krause broke up the Chicago Bulls after the 1997-98 season. One of Jordan’s biggest celebrity friends was so agitated that he went on national television and destroyed the two men.
Before the 1997-98 season, Krause said Phil Jackson wouldn’t return in 1998-99 even if the Bulls went 82-0 and won the championship. Since Jordan made it clear he wouldn’t play for another coach other than Jackson, everyone knew 1997-98 would be his final season in Chicago, and one of the most influential celebrities in the world wasn’t pleased about it.
Spike Lee destroyed Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry Krause
Spike Lee, who became friends with Jordan after filming Nike commercials with him, demolished Reinsdorf and Krause during an interview with Ahmad Rashad while he was at a Bulls game at the United Center in 1997-98. The New York Knicks fan didn’t understand why Bulls management was essentially forcing Jordan to retire early.
“I want Michael to play as long as he wants,” Lee said. “Right now, he’s at the top of his game. It’s a shame what Krause and Reinsdorf are doing. I don’t understand it.”
Lee was angry about what Reinsdorf and Krause were doing to the Bulls. He was likely also frustrated seeing his beloved Knicks get torched by Jordan four times in 1997-98.
Michael Jordan went 4-0 against Spike Lee’s team in 1997-98
The Bulls faced the Knicks four times in 1997-98 and won each game, with Jordan averaging 39.8 points. He loved playing against New York since Patrick Ewing was his dear friend and Lee was at every game. His Airness routinely trash-talked the famous director during games, and it made for great television.
Jordan never lost to the Knicks in the playoffs. The only time New York defeated Chicago in the postseason during the ’90s was in 1994 when MJ was playing baseball. Lee may have been pals with Jordan, but he probably didn’t enjoy watching his favorite basketball team get crushed by the Bulls year after year.
Despite all the drama caused by Reinsdorf and Krause, the Bulls managed to win 62 games in 1997-98. Jordan won his 10th scoring title and fifth regular-season MVP, but he was focused on finishing his final season in Chicago with his sixth championship.
Michael Jordan beat Nets, Hornets, Pacers and Jazz to secure sixth ring
Jordan had to get past the New Jersey Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, and Utah Jazz to win his sixth championship. The Bulls beat the Nets in three games, the Hornets in five games, the Pacers in seven games, and the Jazz in six games.
In 21 games in the 1998 playoffs, Jordan averaged 32.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 46.2% from the field. In Game 6 of the Finals against the Jazz, Black Jesus scored 45 points and hit the game-winning jumper with 5.0 seconds left in regulation. His final shot with the Bulls is one of the most historic moments in NBA history.
After the 1997-98 season, Jordan and Jackson retired, and the Bulls traded Scottie Pippen to the Houston Rockets. As Lee and everyone in Chicago expected, the dynasty was over, and Reinsdorf and Krause became the biggest villains in the Windy City.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.
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