The Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor ceremony with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and more looks like a fun time for everyone. Instead it has become ugly.
None of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman attended Friday's halftime ceremony for the Bulls honoring their inaugural Ring of Honor class, all of whom sent video addresses to acknowledge the event. Jordan's video We cannot describe it as emotional.
Other honorees include Bill Jackson, Tony Kukoc, Artis Gilmore, Tex Winter, Chet Walker, the entire 1995-96 team, Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Dick Klein and Jerry Krause.
It was that last name that caused the ceremony to enter scandalous territory.
To put it mildly, Krause, who was the Bulls' general manager from 1985 to 2003, was not popular with Chicago fans. Jordan famously despised him and he was widely blamed for Jackson's departure in 1998, leading to the collapse of the team's dynasty. Krause died in 2017, so he couldn't defend himself when the team's legacy was revisited on ESPN's “The Last Dance.” Instead, the entire documentary became an opportunity for everyone to dump on Krause.
So it shouldn't have been a big surprise when Bulls fans jeered loudly when Krause's name was announced. It was even more surprising, however, because some in the United Center crowd were there to shout with Krause's widow, Thelma.
Thelma Krause didn't take her late husband's boos well.
As you can see Here's a closer look at her reaction.
Bulls color commentator Stacey King, who played for the Bulls with Jordan and under Cross from 1989 to 1994, was troubled by fans yelling at an older woman for what they thought her husband had done to their sports team.
And started the third quarter tearing up those fans:
“I'm a little sad right now … we had a great ceremony, we brought back the legends, and I'm telling you, Chicago is a sports town. What we saw today when Kerry Krause's name was called and the people, Jerry Krause and his widow, accepted this honor for him. The worst thing I have ever seen in my life, I felt so bad for that girl that I brought her to tears.
“Whoever insults her in this arena should be ashamed. It's not Chicago, it's New York, it's Philly. Chicago's not like that. We're not known for that. Whether you like Jerry Kraus or not, that's the man. Brought six championships here. He didn't shoot a basket, didn't get a rebound, But he put six titles in this arena. A lot of teams only have one. It's really classless. I'm disappointed in people. It's a sad thing.”
Unfortunately, it seems likely that Chicago will now acquire such a reputation.
It's obviously not all Bulls fans booing Krause, and it's not like some criticism of Krause isn't warranted. But the man's Ring of Honor ceremony is not the place to do that, especially when it's his widow and not him. It's worth remembering that Krause drafted two players (Pippen, Kukoc), traded for another (Rodman) and hired two coaches (Jackson, Winter).
If those Bulls fans really wanted to complain about the direction their team had taken over the past 25 years, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf was right there.
Reinsdorf's son, Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf, did not criticize the joke. A statement after the ceremonyBut Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, the Bulls player under Cross and the Bulls' opponent on Friday, He had very harsh words:
“This is disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful. I can't believe it – I'm devastated for Thelma and the Cross family. What could we possibly be thinking? I can't believe it fans – when you hear the noise, you have to understand that it's not there. Is everyone OK? So freaked out fans, They know who they are.
“What are we doing? Whether people like Jerry or not, whether they don't agree with the decision to continue, we're here to celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team. Everything was great tonight and last night. And I'm so disappointed in the love and fans that team shared with the city, And I want to say specifically because there are a lot of fans, I'm sure, who didn't scream. Shame on you.”
Bulls star DeMar DeRozan was also critical, saying it “hits” Krause's family had to listen to his treatment. Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune:
“Rest in peace, he was instrumental in the success the Bulls had, building one of the greatest teams ever assembled. You have to give him credit. The man had family, friends, and that should be appreciated. And in no way insulted by boos or anything like that.
“Their family had to endure that. You can never take away what he created. Without Jerry, there would be no Chicago Bulls history. You have to give him credit as long as there is basketball.
The Bulls lost to the Warriors 140-131.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”