Jerry Reinsdorf reveals Jerry Krause’s ‘one failing’ as Bulls GM
During the popular ESPN docuseries “The Last Dance,” Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has been unilaterally supportive of his former general manager Jerry Krause. In a recent interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, he revealed the lone flaw of the architect that helped build six championship teams in eight years for the franchise.
Scottie Pippen, who had butted heads with Krause during a contract dispute at the end of his first run with the Bulls, notably admitted the GM deserved credit as “the best general manager,” but Reinsdorf noted the latter made one huge mistake:
“Now, Krause had one failing,” said Reinsdorf. “His people skills were not that terrific. And he had a dislike for the media because he believed that the media was not accurate. It would drive him crazy when he would see a story that wasn’t accurate. So that was a failing.”
Reinsdorf conceded his longtime GM made a huge mistake by announcing that Phil Jackson would not come back after the 1997-98 season — something that set him up for arduous criticism and plenty of hoopla at the time.
“He shouldn’t have said ‘Phil’s not coming back even if he’s 82-0,’” said Reinsdorf. “He shouldn’t have said that. But the fact is that when Phil signed his last contract, he himself said this was going to be his last contract. But when Jerry said it, it made it sound like he was making the decision. The reality is Phil was making the decision. And I talked to Jerry about it, and he realized he shouldn’t have said it. But it was too late, he couldn’t take it back.”
Jackson had a lot to do with the decision of making the 1997-98 season “The Last Dance.” Krause is often vilified for the outcome, but Jackson was offered to return for another year, but he already had his mind made up by then, as the series showcased in the last episode.
Krause had a genius for building a team that can could contend for hardware and he should be credited for it, though his relentless seeking for credit might have been his biggest downfall as an NBA executive.