“The Last Dance” finally premiered on Sunday and former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause’s poor relationship with head coach Phil Jackson, and his poor relationships with the players, were big storylines in the first two episodes. The documentary really touched on Scottie Pippen’s dislike for Krause as Pippen was an underpaid superstar. However, Michael Jordan also had a fractured relationship with him. Jordan’s nickname for Krause proved his disdain for him.
Jerry Krause did find success as the Chicago Bulls GM
While “The Last Dance” did put Jerry Krause in a bad light, the guy did do a heck of a job as general manager of the team. The former scout used his scouting abilities to build a stellar supporting cast around Michael Jordan who was on the team when Krause got there.
Krause ultimately hired Phil Jackson as an assistant coach and then later hired him to be the team’s head coach. This came after he urged the Baltimore Bullets to draft him when he was a scout and Jackson was a player in the 1967 NBA draft, according to the Chicago Tribune. So, essentially, Krause discovered the coach that later became an 11-time NBA champion as a coach.
He also worked some magic to acquire Scottie Pippen in a trade with the Seattle Supersonics during the 1987 NBA draft. As you probably know, Pippen later became one of the best players to ever play. He was ultimately the Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman.
“If we had not kept the Scottie Pippen thing as quiet, it never would have happened,” Krause said in an interview with The Vertical, according to NBA.com. “That alone is worth keeping a secret for.”Jerry Krause
Krause made a ton of other moves to surround Jordan with great pieces. This included drafting Horace Grant and trading for Bill Cartwright. He also brought Dennis Rodman to the team and added shooters like Steve Kerr, according to Sporting News.
However, while he certainly built the dynasty, he seemed just as ready to tear it apart.
Being too ready to rebuild
Let’s be honest, Krause’s desire to rebuild the Bulls was the reason the documentary was named “The Last Dance.” Despite bringing in Phil Jackson, he also pushed him out. In the documentary, there was a clip of Krause saying this to reporters, “This will be Phil’s last year as the coach of the Bulls. At the conclusion of the year, we’ll look toward the future.”
Phil Jackson knew it would be his last year too.
“Jerry called me in his office and said this is going to be your last year, I don’t care if you win 82 games in a row,” Jackson said during the documentary, according to CBS Sports. “So I said ‘fine’ and I walked out of the room. And that was the only words that were exchanged.”Phil Jackson
The rebuild did, in fact, start that next year after the Bulls completed their second three-peat of the decade in 1997-98. It did not work out too well, though.
The Bulls went 96-282 in Krause’s final five seasons, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Michael Jordan’s nickname for Krause proved he disliked him
It was clear in “The Last Dance,” that players, including Michael Jordan, were not too fond of Krause. According to ESPN, Jordan even called him “crumbs” throughout the years for the doughnut crumbs he had on his clothes.
The documentary gave us a great quote that showed Jordan’s feelings towards Krause and management.
“We had just finished winning our fifth title,” Jordan said, according to CBS Sports. “There was a lot of uncertainty. Management started talking about the franchise is going to change or we’re going to rebuild. I thought it was unfair. I would never let someone who’s not putting on a uniform and playing each and every day dictate what we do on a basketball court.”Michael Jordan
The Chicago Bulls were one of the most successful teams in the history of sports in large part because of Krause. The dynasty also broke up in large part because of him. The players and coaches were not too fond of Jerry Krause. Michael Jordan’s nickname of “crumbs” for him proved that.