Hall of Fame Rumors
Nevertheless, Jerry Krause always imagined that night in Springfield, Mass., where the gumshoes could symbolically stand shoulder to shoulder at his enshrinement with him. He passed away Tuesday in the north suburbs of Chicago, within a week of when officials might have notified him of his selection into the Hall of Fame before the formal announcement during the NCAA Final Four weekend. At the kitchen table several weeks ago, over that bowl of soup, Krause told me, “I just want to be around if it ever happens, but I don’t know … ”
We had to postpone my trip to Chicago twice, because Krause had been in such agony. He called crying one day, needlessly apologetic because he had taken a bad turn and couldn’t sit for a podcast interview. I never knew Jerry Krause as an NBA executive, only in retirement – through long emails and periodic phone calls. He belonged in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame years ago, but Krause had never been the political animal that he needed to be to gain entrance into the contributors’ wing. He was never one of the boys, and Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo never made it a priority to expedite Krause’s entrance.
For too long, people never saw the generous side of Krause. He never let them. His insecurities, his social awkwardness and the way Jackson and Jordan tried to turn him into a piñata and a punch line took a toll on Krause. On the morning of Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony eight years ago, I stopped to see Jerry and Thelma in the concierge lounge of the Marriott hotel in Springfield. Soon, an old Chicago sportswriter walked into the room, Jerry recoiled and clenched up like a fist. The writer greeted him with a hello and a smile, and Jerry turned away from him, starting to tremble and mumble about old slights. His wife pleaded: “Jerry, calm down. Let it go.”
When we connected, he asked about the Hall of Fame again, what I was hearing, did I think he was going to get through the final vote and into Springfield. Once again, I told him that I had hoped so, that everyone I respected in the NBA believed he belonged, that merit dictated he was long overdue and deserving. “I hope so,” Krause told me. “I hope I’m still around to see it. I hope my kids and grandchildren can share it with me.”
To celebrate the unveiling of a bronze statue of legendary Los Angeles Lakers and NBA Hall of Fame player Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal in Star Plaza at STAPLES Center, the Lakers and AEG will host Shaqtown, a street festival on March 24 to take place on Chick Hearn Court and Microsoft Square at L.A. LIVE. The festival will include a variety of interactive games including Fireball Alley, Block-A-Shaq and Plinko, a Hall of Fame Exhibit, specialty photo opportunities, a Ferris wheel, a mini Lakers basketball court and live deejay.