Jerry Krause, the two-time NBA Executive of the Year for the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s, died Tuesday at the age of 77.
He had been battling persistent health issues, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Krause was the architect of the Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s. The Chicago native took over as general manager in 1985 and surrounded Michael Jordan with the necessary pieces to win six NBA championships.
He hired eventual Hall of Famer Phil Jackson from the Continental Basketball Association to be an assistant coach to Doug Collins in 1985, and made shockwaves when he fired Collins in favor of Jackson before the 1989-90 season.
While the decision to hire Jackson paid huge dividends, Krause also orchestrated the 1987 trade that netted Scottie Pippen and drafted Horace Grant, both of whom were integral parts to Chicago’s first three championships.
Krause made more moves after Jordan retired in 1993 and returned in 1995. He drafted Toni Kukoc and acquired Dennis Rodman to replace Grant after he bolted in free agency. Both Rodman and Kukoc were catalysts for the Bulls’ second three-peat.
The wheels came off, however, following the Bulls’ championship in 1998.
Jordan retired for the second time in 1999, and a growing feud between Jackson and Krause led to the legendary coach’s exit. Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets and the Bulls went into a full rebuild.
After the disintegration of the dynasty, the Bulls never won more than 30 games under Krause’s watch before he retired in 2003.
During Krause’s tenure, the Bulls won 808 games, which were more than any other Eastern Conference team during that time span, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Jordan paid his respects to Krause via a statement to The Chicago Tribune.
“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,” Jordan said. “My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends”
Krause was a finalist this year for the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.
Thumbnail photo via Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports Images