The Chicago Bulls honored the inaugural class for their new Ring of Honor Friday night as Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors came to town.
The first class was 13 men and the entire 1995-96 team, including the architect of the Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s, former general manager Jerry Krause.
Krause, who passed away in 2017, was represented by his wife, Thelma.
When Krause was shown on the scoreboard during the halftime ceremony, a significant amount of boos came down from the crowd as Thelma was shown appearing to be visibly upset.
After the game, Kerr, a member of the Bulls from 1993 to 1998, ripped the fans who booed.
“I didn’t hear it. I was in the locker room, but somebody just told me about it,” Kerr said postgame. “And it’s shameful. Absolutely shameful. I’m devastated for Thelma and for the Krause family. What can we possibly be thinking?
“You have to understand, when you hear boos, it’s not all of them, right? The fans who booed, they know who they are. To me, it’s absolutely shameful, and I’m devastated by that. What are we doing? Whether people liked Jerry or not, whether they disagreed with the decision to move on . . . . We’re here the celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team.”
“I want to be specific, because I know there were lots of fans I’m sure who did not boo,” Kerr added. “And those who booed, they should be ashamed.”
Krause was responsible for putting together the Chicago teams steered by Michael Jordan that won six NBA championships in the 1990s.
Bulls president and CEO Michael Reinsdorf released a statement after the game, saying Krause deserved to be respected.
“Jerry Krause is a six-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Executive of the Year,” Reinsdorf said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his accomplishments and is an important part of our history. His legacy deserves to be celebrated and respected. We were incredibly honored to have Thelma with us this evening to recognize Jerry as a member of the inaugural Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor.”
Stacey King, a former Chicago player and current analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, ripped the fans who booed as the broadcast returned from halftime.
“I’m telling you what. Chicago is a sports town, and what we witnessed today when Jerry Krause’s name was called and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” King said. “I hurt for that lady. Brought her to tears and whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves.”
In the documentary “The Last Dance,” Krause is depicted as at odds with Bulls’ players and head coach Phil Jackson, and he is often blamed for the end of the dynasty.
Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were not in attendance for the ceremony, though Jordan addressed the crowd in a pre-recorded video.
“I am so bummed that I can’t be there tonight, but I don’t want that to stop the fun that you guys are going to have. And believe me, I am very grateful and very honored,” Jordan said. “To the fans, you guys have supported me ever since I stepped foot in Chicago. And even today, I see a lot of Chicago fans all over. So, I think we made an impression and changed what Chicago represents in terms of champions. Every time you look up in the rafters, I want you to always remember where we were and where we are. And we are always going to be champions . . . .
“I’m bummed I can’t be there, but I will always be a Chicago Bull.”
The Warriors defeated the Bulls 140-131, snapping a two-game losing streak.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik and The Associated Press contributed to this report
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