Jerry Krause, known as the architect of the Chicago Bulls' dynasty in the 1990s, has passed away at the age of 77, the Chicago Bulls confirmed Tuesday.
Krause, who won six championships during his successful tenure with the Bulls, was a member of the Bulls' front office for 18 seasons.
“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Jerry was one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around, and he was one of the best talent evaluators ever. Jerry played an integral role in our run of six championships in eight years. He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s. I would not have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame if it were not for Jerry. We will miss him tremendously, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Thelma and the Krause family.”
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A Chicago-native, Krause was hired by Reinsdorf to oversee the construction of the team's roster before the 1985-86 season. In his tenure, he drafted players like Horace Grant, traded for players like Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright and Dennis Rodman, and ultimately helped the team to one of the most successful runs in sports history as they won six championships in eight seasons.
“I owe a lot to Jerry. If it weren’t for him bringing me to Chicago in 1985, I probably never would have been a Bull,” Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said in a statement. “He had a great eye for talent, and his ability to build a team is unrivaled. He’s one of the best the league has ever seen."
Even with all that success, there were always tensions between Krause and the two biggest stars in Chicago, as Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson frequently butted heads with the G.M. Krause did not attend Jordan's Hall of Fame induction in 2009, and he frequently chastised Jackson in the press during their rocky relationship.
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Jordan released a statement to CNBC Tuesday saying, "Jerry was a key figure in the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s and meant so much to the Bulls, the White Sox and the entire city of Chicago. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends.”
Jackson echoed Jordan's statement, saying Krause's death is "sad day for the Chicago Bulls and the entire NBA community."
"He was a man determined to create a winning team in Chicago - his hometown," Jackson said. "Jerry was known as 'The Sleuth' for his secrecy, but it was no secret that he built the dynasty in Chicago. We, who were part of his vision in that run, remember him today."
*In the original version of this story, it was incorrectly stated that Scottie Pippen was drafted by the Bulls, when in fact he was acquired in a draft-day trade in 1987*