Jerry Krause Rumors
Thanks in large part to Jerry Krause, Jackson understands, because Jackson was about to become a labor statistic in 1987. Jackson applied for unemployment, out of coaching, out of work, considering a return to school, perhaps private business. He wasn’t sure anymore. Hopes and expectations had become an anchor for his nascent coaching career. Jerry Krause threw him the lifesaver that buoyed a special cruise through the NBA record books. Krause knew. After all, typical of the late Bulls general manager, Krause had been taking notes on Jackson for the previous 20 years. That intense study and innate willingness to think and act creatively were premier characteristics of Krause that led, inevitably, to enshrinement in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Krause was secretive, perhaps to an abnormal extreme. But among the staff he was open and willing to encourage dialogue, suggesting a more confident and secure mien than many often believed. And he reveled in his iconoclastic methods. “Jerry was ‘the Sleuth,’ his moniker, his slouch hat and raincoat,” said Jackson. “He kind of enjoyed that. Might not ask for a ticket. He’d buy a ticket and slide into a field house, maybe watch a practice, maybe have an agreement with a coach to watch practice, but not to be seen by the other scouts, unobtrusively sit in the stands, fill out his cards and make his notes. He had favorites; he fell in love with players. A lot he couldn’t reach in the draft or to get. But I didn’t see him make a lot of mistakes on guys he fell in love with.
Jerry Krause on a gorgeous late summer day, the shuffling clouds parting for bright blue skies, really was smiling down on his wife, Thelma, and the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Thursday as the inductees were presented their emblematic blazers on the eve of the official enshrinement at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. “One of the first things I saw was his picture,” Thelma Krause said about entering for the Naismith Hall of Fame for a press conference and gathering of the new class. “He smiled at me, so hopefully he does know. I’d like to think he does. He would be thrilled and honored and so happy his children and grandchildren were here to participate; he loved sports, he loved scouting and being part of organizations. “I am so honored for him,” Thelma said. “I know how much this would mean for him.”
It was a joyful, yet bittersweet day for Thelma and the Krause family as Jerry, the Bulls general manager who oversaw six championships in the 1990s as part of a long executive career in basketball, received the ultimate basketball honor. But he was not there to celebrate since he passed away, actually just shortly before the announcement. “I would have preferred at least he knew about it,” said Thelma. “I think that’s the saddest thing; not that he isn’t here, which is sad in of itself, but the fact it was just a couple of weeks difference for when he passed away and the announcement was made.”