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“Almost Had an Org*sm Looking at Scottie Pippen”: When Jerry Krause Couldn’t Contain His Excitement Seeing the Bulls Star Ahead of the 1987 Draft

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar
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“Almost Had an Org*sm Looking at Scottie Pippen”: When Jerry Krause Couldn’t Contain His Excitement Seeing Bulls Star Ahead of the 1987 Draft

The Chicago Bulls had barely any decent seasons to show for before Jerry Krause took over as the general manager in 1985. His reign nicely coincided with the historic draft of Michael Jordan in 1984. Just two years after his appointment, the franchise went from a coke-infested lottery team to a juggernaut in the Eastern Conference. Among Krause’s biggest accomplishments as general manager was landing Scottie Pippen, who would eventually help Jordan turn the tide for the Bulls.

Krause was enamored by the forward immediately after seeing him. He saw him in action for the first time at a tournament for prospective NBA players before the 1987 draft. Upon seeing him, Krause said:

I almost had an orgasm looking at him.”

Pippen had all the tools Krause was looking for. He was talented with the ball in his hands, had the physical traits to be a dominant player, and hailed from a humble college program. The Bulls’ general manager preferred drafting players from lesser known establishments. Explaining why, one rival GM was quoted saying in a Sports Illustrated piece:

What Jerry likes most is to find a player from a small school, so he can call him his own. It feeds his basic insecurity.

Michael Jordan alluded to the same. He claimed Krause preferred landing relatively unknown prospects to look like a genius when they performed well. He said, “My whole definition of Krause is that he favors the underdog. He wants that diamond in the rough. I figure that he had a tough childhood, that he was always picked on, and this is his way of compensating, of becoming someone.

In the 1987 draft, the Seattle Supersonics rained on Krause’s parade by picking Pippen with the fifth overall pick. However, the Bulls’ general manager was eager to land the forward and acquired him via trade. Pippen went on to become one of the greatest forwards in NBA history and helped the Bulls win six NBA titles.

Scottie Pippen and Jerry Krause’s rough relationship

Despite enjoying unmatched success due to Krause’s decision to trade for him, Scottie Pippen was irked at the sight of the general manager. The animosity between the two stemmed from Pippen’s contract extension in 1991. After the Bulls’ first championship win, Krause offered the forward a seven-year, $18 million extension.

Pippen accepted the deal despite being told not to by his agents and even Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The superstar wanted financial security to provide for his paralyzed father and 11 siblings. Pippen would regret the decision almost immediately. The NBA salary cap ballooned to unprecedented heights in the mid-90s.

Pippen saw his peers sign massive extensions while he earned a shade above $2.5 million. He pushed for contract renegotiations and even demanded a trade away from the franchise in 1997. But Krause never budged. During the final year of Pippen’s seven-year deal, he was the sixth-highest-paid Bulls player and the 122nd-highest-paid player in the NBA. He was inarguably a top-five player in the league but earned less than almost 80% of the league’s players.

Despite Pippen being a prisoner to a team-friendly deal, Krause tried to trade the Bulls superstar twice. First, in 1994 for Seattle Supersonics superstar, Shawn Kemp, and then in 1997 for the Toronto Raptors’ teenage sensation, Tracy McGrady. In the Netflix documentary ‘The Last Dance,’ Pippen revealed that Krause’s attempts to trade him were hurtful. He said:

“That really is what tarnished my relationship with Jerry [Krause]. He tried to make me feel so special, but yet he was still willing to try to trade [me]. He would never tell me that to my face. I felt insulted. I took the attitude of disrespecting him to some degree.”

Pippen and Krause’s sour relationship did not hurt the Bulls on the court. In the 11 seasons they worked together, Chicago raised six championship banners. However, it’s a sad footnote that the best player Krause acquired as general manager harbored ill feelings towards him for the rest of his life.

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

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Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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