It was well-documented in The Last Dance docuseries that Michael Jordan didn’t have a good relationship with Chicago Bulls management, specifically general manager Jerry Krause. Before the 1997-98 NBA season, Krause told the Chicago media that Bulls head coach Phil Jackson wouldn’t return in 1998-99, and Jordan and Scottie Pippen were furious at Krause for prematurely breaking up the dynasty.
Since he was the star of the team, Jordan was occasionally asked by Krause and the front office to give his input on free-agent signings and trades. According to His Airness, the Bulls signed players a few times even when he told them the player they were looking at wasn’t good. It just further shows that Jordan and Krause never saw eye to eye.
Bulls signed players even after Michael Jordan told them they were terrible
In the summer of 1997, Jordan admitted to SLAM Magazine that the Bulls signed players in free agency even though he told them the guy they were looking at wasn’t good.
“Sure. There’ve been quite a few times [laughs]. But nobody knows that, though,” Jordan said. “Nobody knows who they are. But I was right. I was right! Let’s just say that.”
Jordan and Krause won six championships together in the ’90s. They should have had a great relationship and enjoyed being around each other. However, it was the complete opposite, so much so that Jordan was thrilled Krause wasn’t around the team that much during his final year in Chicago.
Michael Jordan on Jerry Krause in 1998: I think it’s good that he’s not around
In April 1998, Jordan told ESPN that he was glad Krause was around the Bulls and was keeping a low profile. The two had such a bitter relationship that they didn’t even speak when they walked past each other.
“Actually, right now he’s keeping a low profile,” Jordan said. “And I’m glad. I think it’s good that he’s not around, especially for the guys who rely on his decisions for their careers. I can operate with or without Krause, but when we walk past each other, we never speak. I guess you could say I don’t agree with his business decisions. We give up Jason Caffey, there’s no logic to it. The lousiest decisions are stumbled on. Getting some second-round picks in return? I can’t even think of a second-round pick in the league.”
Jordan hated Krause after what happened during his season year in the NBA. The GM wanted his superstar player to sit out the rest of the season after suffering a fractured bone in his left foot. However, Jordan came back, played at a high level, and essentially willed the Bulls into playoff contention.
The Bulls found themselves in a pivotal game versus the Indiana Pacers on April 3, 1986. Jordan couldn’t go into the game on Chicago’s final possession because his time limit was up. Krause told head coach Stan Albeck that he would fire him on the spot if MJ played more than his minutes limit.
Even though the Bulls won the game and made the playoffs, Jordan never trusted Krause ever again after that game. It’s actually incredible Chicago won titles despite the best player hating the architect. That’s how special Jordan was.
MJ became arguably the GOAT despite hating his GM
Despite loathing Krause, Jordan became arguably the best basketball player of all time with the Bulls. It’s not just the six titles, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, and 10 scoring titles. It’s how artistic his game was. He had no flaws as a player and was the most competitive individual in every gym he stepped foot in.
Not only is Jordan the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game, but he’s also first in player efficiency rating. The Hall of Famer would do anything to get himself mentally sharpened to destroy his opponents. He made it a point to prove he was better than Clyde Drexler in the 1992 Finals after pundits compared the Portland Trail Blazers guard to him and purposely attacked Dan Majerle in the 1993 Finals because Krause was a fan of the Phoenix Suns wing.
Krause and the Bulls certainly made several questionable moves during the Jordan era. However, surprisingly, it didn’t stop Jordan from dominating on the basketball court. We may never see a scenario like that play out again where a superstar wins despite having a tumultuous relationship with his GM.