The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced earlier today that former Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Krause has been selected as part of its Class of 2017.
During his 18 years with the Bulls, the franchise won six NBA Championships (1991-93, 1996-98), advanced to the postseason 14 times, claimed six Central Division titles and won 808 games—the most by an Eastern Conference team over that span. Krause’s Bulls squads posted nine 50-win seasons, including four years with 60 or more wins and one season with 72 victories. Prior to Golden State’s 73-9 campaign in 2015-16, Chicago’s teams in 1995-96 (72-10) and 1996-97 (69-13) owned the best single-season records in NBA history.
“I know this would have meant the world to Jerry. It only further validates his legacy and what we all knew about his body of work with the Bulls,” said Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “I know it is bittersweet for Thelma and his family, as this means a great deal to them as well. It’s a shame that he won’t be here to enjoy this honor, but I know his family is extremely happy."
Regarded as the architect of Chicago’s six World Championship teams, Krause took over Chicago’s basketball operations department on March 26, 1985, following a successful run as a scout for the Baltimore Bullets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and, previously, the Bulls (1969-71). During his NBA career, he was responsible for the drafting of future Hall of Famers Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld and Scottie Pippen. He also played a key role in the drafting of four NBA Rookie of the Year recipients in Monroe, Unseld, Alvin Adams and Elton Brand. In addition, Krause worked to select other NBA stars such as Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, Clifford Ray, Michael Cooper and Norm Nixon.
Among the players he drafted for the Bulls were Pippen, Charles Oakley, Horace Grant, Stacey King, B.J. Armstrong, Toni Kukoc, Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Jamal Crawford and Tyson Chandler. Along with Michael Jordan, Pippen and Grant were the cornerstones of Chicago’s first three-peat teams. From a free-agent standpoint, Krause complemented his rosters with the signings of Trent Tucker, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, Jud Buechler, Randy Brown, Ron Harper, Robert Parish, Brian Williams and countless others. He also traded for John Paxson, Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman, who all played critical roles for Chicago’s championship squads. Perhaps his greatest move was when he hired Phil Jackson from the Continental Basketball Association’s Albany Patroons, first as an assistant coach and later as head coach of the Bulls. Krause also hired assistant coaches Tex Winter, Johnny Bach, Jimmy Rodgers, Bill Cartwright and Frank Hamblen. For his efforts, Krause was named NBA Executive of the Year by his peers in 1987-88 and 1995-96.
Krause, who passed away on March 21, is joined by fellow inductees Tracy McGrady, Bill Self, Rebecca Lobo, Muffet McGraw, Robert Hughes, Mannie Jackson, Tom Jernstedt, Zack Clayton, Niko Galis and George McGinnis. Enshrinement ceremonies for the Class of 2017 will be Sept. 7-9 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.