An unfortunate incident unfolded at Chicago’s United Center, drawing the ire of Charles Barkley. During the Chicago Bulls’ ceremony to honor the 1995-96 championship team, Jerry Krause’s widow, Thelma Krause, faced boos from the crowd as she represented her late husband for his posthumous induction into the franchise’s Ring of Honor. The incident marred what should have been a special night, prompting widespread criticism on social media.
Addressing the matter on “Inside the NBA,” Barkley expressed his disapproval of the fans’ behavior and the absence of key players Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.
“I want to be very careful here because Chicago, I love that city, but what happened in Chicago the other night was a disgrace,” Barkley began. He condemned the booing that brought Mrs. Krause to tears and the absence of Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.
“They’ve always been a great organization, but for that thing to go down like that, not to have the greatest player in your organization there, who won six championships, and Dennis and Scottie — first of all, I don’t know why you’d put 100 guys in the Ring of Honor anyway, that’s just stupid — but what those fans did to Mrs. Krause, that was not cool, and everybody involved owes that lady an apology.”
Barkley emphasized the inappropriate nature of the incident and called for an apology to Mrs. Krause.
“Whether you like Jerry Krause or not, that man’s dead — rest in peace. His wife is there, and y’all made that lady cry, and that was total BS. … That was wrong, man, to have that lady crying; that hurt my heart watching that thing.”
Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, present at the ceremony, also commented on the situation. Reinsdorf stressed that Krause’s legacy deserved respect, while Kerr called the booing “absolutely shameful.”
Why Did Bulls Fans Boo Jerry Krause?
Many Bulls fans harbor resentment toward Jerry Krause, holding him responsible for dismantling the team after the 1997-98 season. Documented in “The Last Dance” documentary, Krause is portrayed as a controversial figure who believed in the importance of organizational contributions to championships.
The decision not to retain head coach Phil Jackson, coupled with Michael Jordan’s subsequent retirement, marked the end of an era. Krause’s approach was seen as stripping power from the players and ultimately led to the breakup of the dynasty.
Despite Krause’s reasoning related to the team’s aging roster, his actions were perceived as unnecessary and detrimental. The Bulls struggled in the years following, posting a 96-282 record from 1998-99 to Krause’s final season in 2002-03.