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Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf releases statement following United Center booing Jerry Krause

In Sports
January 13, 2024

Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf releases statement following United Center booing Jerry Krause originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The late Jerry Krause was senselessly booed during Friday night’s Ring of Honor ceremony put on by the Bulls to recognize the most invaluable contributors to their organization.

It was an unfortunate, insensitive scene. The boos dominated the reaction to Krause’s induction to the Bulls’ inaugural Ring of Honor class; Krause’s widowed wife, Thelma, was overcome with emotion from the booing.

In response to the incident, Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf released a statement to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson honoring Krause’s legacy.

“Jerry Krause is a six-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Executive of the Year. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his accomplishments and is an important part of our history. His legacy deserves to be celebrated and respected. We were incredibly honored to have Thelma with us this evening to recognize Jerry as a member of the inaugural Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor,” Reinsdorf said.

Unfortunately, some fans in attendance didn’t live up to the expected and deserved respect Krause earned.

“What we witnessed today when Jerry Krause’s name was called, and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I hurt for that lady. Brought her to tears. And whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves,” NBC Sports Chicago color commentator Stacey King said on the broadcast.

“First of all, fans, we don’t boo Jerry Krause,” Ron Harper said during the game to a group of reporters in the Bulls’ tunnel. “The man’s done a lot of great things here. He may not be your favorite person, but we cheer to respect the man. And I didn’t really appreciate that part. But for the whole ceremony, it was awesome.”

Krause, who died in March 2017, led the Bulls front office when the organization won six championships in nine years. He won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award in 1988 and 1996.

He was responsible for several franchise-altering moves including trading for Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley and drafting Scottie Pippen, and B.J. Armstrong and signing Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc. Krause was inarguably one of the league’s best executives in its history, despite his sometimes ungratifying public perception.

King placed Krause’s legacy perfectly in two sentences.

“Whether you like Jerry Krause or not that man brought six championships here,” King said. “He didn’t shoot a basket, nor did he get a rebound, but he put six titles up in this franchise.”

Postgame, DeMar DeRozan also defended Krause.

“Something like that, rest his soul. He played a major part in the success that the Bulls had, creating one of the greatest teams ever assembled. You gotta give him credit,” DeRozan said. “That man has family, friends that are still here and ought to be appreciated and shouldn’t be disrespected in no type of way by hearing boos or anything like that. It just sucks that his family has to endure something like that.

“But you can never take away what he created. Without Jerry, it wouldn’t be a historic Chicago Bulls history. You have to give him credit for as long as basketball is around.”

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