Daily Herald
It's past time to give Krause credit he's due
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 8/14/2010 7:41 PM | Updated: 8/14/2010 7:41 PM

The upcoming season will mark the 20th anniversary of the Bulls' first NBA title.

Will Michael Jordan pants the Bulls' former general manager like he might an uncool schoolkid? Will Scottie Pippen apply not so playful noogies to Krause's noggin? Will teammates gang up to give Krause a wedgie in the boys' room?

No former Bull will embrace Krause if they follow Jordan and Pippen like they did during the club's glory days.

Jordan committed an insult of commission during his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech last year and Pippen an insult of omission during his Friday night.

"Jerry's not here," Jordan said. "I don't know who'd invite him. I didn't."

That was nasty, but maybe Pippen's treatment of Krause was worse: Nary a mention of the man's first name, last name or unflattering nickname.

Pippen acknowledged "Jerry Reinsdorf and the entire Chicago Bulls organization - teammates - a special thanks to Phil Jackson -"

Krause was ignored conspicuously and likely purposely.

Come on, guys, grow up. Enough is enough. At first the ridiculing of Krause was cute, perhaps even appropriate, but now it comes across as tall men behaving like spoiled, snotty, petty little children.

Why do Jordan and Pippen perpetuate this grudge? Apparently because they can. Krause is defenseless against athletes Chicago worships.

Jordan and Pippen are acting like bullies on the playground picking on a socially awkward kid in unfashionable, ill-fitting clothes.

Isn't it time to get over the animosity and recognize that Jerry Krause was one of the primary reasons the Bulls won six NBA titles in the 1990s?

All last week Pippen was called the perfect complement to Jordan. Well, who do they think was responsible for uniting them?

Krause gave Pippen to Jordan and Jordan to Pippen, and neither won any NBA titles without the other,

Without Krause surrounding them with pieces like Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper - well, they wouldn't have become what they became.

One notion might be that if it weren't Pippen, somebody like him would ably have supported Jordan. The only problem with that is there wasn't anyone else like Pippen to fit in with Jordan's game.

Very few great basketball talents in history were as uniquely qualified as Pippen to be the right guy for Jordan.

His Royal Airness was so awesome on the court and off, so charismatic and so huge a presence. Most all-stars couldn't have handled being such a distant No. 2 to him.

Pippen did resent his status at times but kept on keeping on - rebounding, handling the ball, playing defense, running the offense, recording assists and overall being one of the best all-around players in NBA history.

Jordan should be grateful to Krause for providing him with that kind of teammate, and Pippen should be grateful to Krause for swinging a draft-day deal that inserted him next to the greatest basketball player of all time.

So, fellas, man up and get over all those childish hard feelings toward Jerry Krause.

Class reunions are supposed to be happy occasions, you know, not spiteful.

mimrem@dailyherald.com