Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause dies at age 77

AP Photo/Frank Polich
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“Players and coaches don’t win championships. Organizations win championships.”

That quote – inaccurately conveyed, he’d argue – stuck to Jerry Krause.

The former Bulls general manager had a good point: Players and coaches are only part of the organization, and ultimately, the entire franchise wins a championship. Players are the most important parts, yes. But only a part. Ownership matters. The front office matters. The medical staff matters. Scouting, perhaps his favorite department after his time as a baseball scout, matters. It all matters.

But Michael Jordan didn’t want Krause downplaying the superstar player’s contributions to Chicago’s six championships, and Krause was an easy target for derision. So, Krause went underappreciated for his role in role in one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

It unfortunately too often works this way, but harsh feelings about people typically subside when they die. So maybe Krause will get more credit now.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

He inherited Michael Jordan, but Krause did a masterful job of building a supporting cast around the all-time greatest player: Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, John Paxson, B. J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Ron Harper, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr. As great as Jordan was, we’d remember him and the Bulls differently if Krause weren’t around.

Krause is a nominee for the Hall of Fame as a contributor, which is perhaps fitting. He didn’t singlehandedly win any of Chicago’s championships, but he darn sure contributed.