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Was Jerry Krause responsible for drafting Michael Jordan?

Shubham Singh
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Was Jerry Krause responsible for drafting Michael Jordan?

It is wild to imagine that the General Manager of a basketball franchise would be skeptical of drafting a talent like Michael Jordan. But in the loaded 1984 draft, the then Bulls GM Rod Thorn was reluctant about selecting Michael Jordan as the number three overall pick. Thorn wanted a 7-footer, considering that was the era of Centers dominating the league. In the preceding years, most MVPs were won by dominant big men like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone.

Therefore, everyone wanted to draft the #1 pick Hakeem Olajuwon, who would be eventually selected by the Houston Rockets. A Shooting Guard at 6’6” felt like a less productive option.  We wished he[Jordan] were seven feet, but he isn’t. He is only 6-5,” expressed Thorn in an interview.

So, it wasn’t Jerry Krause who drafted the man who put the Bulls franchise on the map. His Airness was actually drafted by his predecessor, Rod Thorn, who was Bulls’ GM from 1978-1985. But the change of personnel, from Thorn to Krause, propelled the Bulls to reach bigger summits. Having Krause as the GM helped the Bulls identify and acquire the complimentary pieces to MJ that would eventually result in six championships. Krause wasn’t just a manager, he was an expert Scout as well.

He had acted in that capacity for a bunch of NBA teams before, including the Los Angeles Lakers. Before joining the Bulls, the veteran executive managed another Chicago team, the MLB’s White Sox. But what transpired next with the Bulls was what cemented Krause’s legacy and nabbed him the 2017 Hall-of-Fame honor.

This legacy was also a result of him identifying Scottie Pippen’s potential in 1987. He was responsible for scouting the Bulls legend before any other team had their eyes on him. In 1993, he expressed that he almost had an org*sm when he saw the future All-Star in action for the first time.

When other teams started noticing the Forward’s talent in workouts, a desperate Krause pulled out a draft-night trade to get him from the Sonics who drafted him fifth. He wanted Pip at any cost. And what a decision that turned out to be!

Due to his immense success with the Bulls, the General Manager made a fortune. As per recent estimates, the net worth of the former Bulls manager, who died in 2017, is around $5 million. Despite major differences, even Michael Jordan recognized the talents of the Bulls manager, who built a winning roster around him.

Michael Jordan acknowledged Jerry Krause’s ability to identify talent 

While Jordan didn’t miss out on a chance to mock Krause, he knew about his abilities pretty well. He acknowledged his skill to identify athletes that go under the radar. In a 1993 Sports Illustrated feature on Jerry Krause, MJ was quoted saying, “My whole definition of Krause is that he favors the underdog. He wants that diamond in the rough.

Since Krause was over 200 pounds and was shorter than 5’6”, Jordan believed that bullies must have targeted him when he was young. As per His Airness, such experiences may have led the observant individual to leave his imprint as a winner.

I figure that he[Krause] had a tough childhood, that he was always picked on, and this is his way of compensating, of becoming someone,” SI quoted Jordan.

As Krause got booed during the Chicago Bulls’ Ring of Honor night, these testimonies will remind fans of his legacy in Chicago.

About the author

Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh

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Shubham Singh is an NBA Journalist at SportsRush. He found his passion in Writing when he couldn't fulfil his dream of playing professional basketball. Shubham is obsessed with box scores and also loves to keep track of advanced stats and is, particularly, fond of writing CoreSport analytical pieces. In the league, his all time favorites were 80s Bad Boys, Pistons, while Dennis Rodman and his enthralling rebounding made him love the game more. It also made him realize that the game is much more than fancy scoring and playmaking. Shubham is also a huge fan of cricket and loves to watch all forms of women sports.

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