Coach Fred Hoiberg was glad to hear that former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause would be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2017 class, and he shared a story about Krause signing him to play for the Bulls.
Krause, who died 11 days before the call to the Hall became official, was the architect of six Bulls championships. He was responsible for surrounding Hall of Famer Michael Jordan with such talents as Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc and Dennis Rodman as well as hiring coach Phil Jackson.
“It’s sad that he won’t be there to receive the honor, but it’s very well deserved with what Jerry helped accomplish with the six championships and the way he drafted and put the right free agents around superstars,’’ Hoiberg said. “He did just a wonderful job and was a great person as well. I’m just happy for Jerry and his family.’’
When reminded that Krause brought him to the Bulls, Hoiberg joked, “Oh, yeah, I was one of his great signings.’’
Of that signing back in 1999, Hoiberg’s most vivid memory was of sports anchor Mark Giangreco.
“When I got next door to the Berto Center, there was a Residence Inn, I believe,’’ Hoiberg said. “And I went to turn the TV on, and Mark Giangreco’s words were, ‘And the Bulls just keep on signing those superstars.’ That’s what I remember about that signing after I averaged a point and a half in Indiana.’’
In a statement, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said: “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. 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.’’
A member of the Bulls’ front office for 18 years, Krause took over the basketball-operations department March 26, 1985. He also was a baseball scout and was responsible for the White Sox acquiring Ozzie Guillen in a trade with the Padres.
When news of Krause’s death broke, Guillen pointed out that Krause’s critics were often unfair in their assessments.
“Nobody gave him the credit he should get,’’ Guillen said. “To put yourself in two really, really different sports and have success in both, that’s not easy. When you do that, you are successful in life.’’
Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.