While Michael Jordan possessed plenty of talent, his skills extended far beyond shooting jump shots and throwing down slam dunks. His Airness also knew a thing or two about trash-talking. Those verbal assaults weren’t reserved for the guys on the other team, though; just ask Jerry Krause about that.
It’s no secret that MJ and the late Chicago Bulls general manager didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but things extended beyond simple name-calling. In fact, Jordan once publicly threw some shade a Krause by outwardly devaluing one of his best decisions.
Michael Jordan could trash-talk with the best of them
At this point, there’s nothing too groundbreaking about saying that a professional athlete is competitive. His Airness, however, took things to the next level.
Jordan developed his famous will to win as a boy, battling with his brother, Larry. While MJ went on to find plenty of success—he won an NCAA title before dominating the NBA stage—he never lost that edge. He had to be the best and would crush anyone who stood in his way; that would sometimes manifest in brutal trash-talk.
Over the years, His Airness dished out plenty of verbal onslaughts. They weren’t only reserved for opponents, though. Jordan called out Rodney McCray during a Chicago Bulls practice, challenged Dan Patrick during an interview, and even threw some barbs at Bill Clinton.
No matter who you were, the implications were clear: mess with MJ at your own risk.
Poking holes in Jerry Krause’s draft-day decision
As referenced above, Jordan wasn’t willing to trash-talk virtually anyone. During his time in Chicago, that included Bulls general manager Jerry Krause.
While there’s plenty of room to debate Krause’s role in the Bulls dynasty—he did surround Jordan with talent, but he was also potentially a bit too ready to rebuild—it was clear that he and His Airness didn’t see eye-to-eye. As seen in The Last Dance, MJ had no problem needling the GM about his weight; he even called Krause “crumbs,” which was apparently in reference to donut crumbs clinging to his clothes.
Jordan, however, took things a bit further in 1998; speaking to ESPN’s Rick Telander for an “as told to” story, the Chicago Bulls star decided to publicly poke holes in one of Krause’s biggest points of pride.
Our general manager Jerry Krause always brags that he found Earl Monroe. I always say to Krause, ‘What pick did you take him for the Bullets? No. 2, right? You don’t think someone would have found him at No. 3 or 4? Doesn’t sound like you found damn Earl Monroe.’ But Krause, he lives for that stuff.Michael Jordan
In fairness to MJ, he does have a point. While Earl Monroe did play at a small school, he did receive plenty of attention in college; it’s not like Krause plucked him from obscurity with a completely off-the-board selection. At the end of the day, though, general managers usually get credit for the decisions they make, even if they’re pretty obvious.
Michael Jordan later called out Jerry Krause during his Hall of Fame induction speech
Whether Krause deserves credit for drafting Earl Monroe or not, one thing did remain clear: Michael Jordan wasn’t done needling the Bulls GM.
Take, for example, Jordan’s 2009 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. While it would have been easy for His Airness to step up to the podium, politely thank some people, and be on his way, he couldn’t resist taking a final shot at his old target.
During his speech, Jordan quipped, “I don’t know who invited [Krause]—I didn’t.” The former Bulls GM, however, wasn’t even in the audience; he decided to boycott the ceremony, citing the fact that Tex Winter, the man who invented the triangle offense, hadn’t earned a place in Springfield.
In 2017, Krause was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. While it wasn’t quite a last laugh—it’s tough to get those against Jordan—it was certainly a nice measure of respect.