The first two episodes of The Last Dance, a new 10-part documentary miniseries that follows Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 season, debuted on ESPN on Sunday night.
The documentary was initially scheduled to air in June, but the date was moved to April 19 to entertain people staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The premiere episodes followed the rocky relationship between the then-Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and his team.
Krause had a dysfunctional relationship with his team
Krause had a dysfunctional relationship with the team’s head coach Phil Jackson and the top players on his team, including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Many viewers commented on Twitter about the negative light in which the documentary cast Krause in the opening episodes of the series.
Episode 1 depicted him as an insecure executive anxious to get credit for the team’s success. The second episode traces his eventual falling out with Pippen.
They are killing Jerry Krause
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) April 20, 2020
This storytelling is next level.
The way they flash back but still keep us rooted in the 1997 season is incredible.
They are showcasing MJ and Scottie's upbringing & early years with the constant presence of the Evil Empire of Jerry Krause in the background.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 20, 2020
Jerry Krause is about to quickly reach the Carole Baskin level of internet shenanigans. 😭
— Chiney Ogwumike (@Chiney321) April 20, 2020
Viewers also commented on Krause’s infamous statement that organizations and not players win championships. Krause claimed in the past that he was misquoted.
Jerry Krause said organizations win championships, not players that organization hasn’t won a championship since 🤷🏾♂️
— Darius Miles (@21Blackking) April 20, 2020
Despite his portrayal as the villain of the show, some viewers defended him on Twitter, saying he deserved credit as the architect of the Chicago Bulls dynasty that won six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998.
Krause was responsible for hiring head coach Phil Jackson in 1989 and also assistant coach Tex Winter, “the master of the triangle offense.”
He built the team by drafting top players such as Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and Toni Kukoc. He was also responsible for trading Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, and trading Will Perdue for Dennis Rodman.
Jerry Krause did do the draft-night dealing to make Scottie a Bull. Let's not forget that
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 20, 2020
Jerry Krause built a championship roster around a shooting guard. Hadn’t been done before. #TheLastDance
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 20, 2020
When did Jerry Krause die?
Krause died on March 21, 2017, at the age of 77. The news of his death was announced on Twitter by Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.
Jerry Krause, GM of the Bulls for their six title teams, passed away this afternoon at age 77, a member of the family told the Tribune. RIP
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 21, 2017
Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf announced his death in a statement:
“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause… He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s. I would not have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame if it were not for Jerry. We will miss him tremendously, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Thelma and the Krause family.”
Michael Jordan also paid tribute to Krause in a statement:
“Jerry was a key figure in the Bulls’ dynasty and meant so much to the Bulls, White Sox and city of Chicago. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Thelma, his family and friends.”
In statement to Trib, MJ on Krause: "Jerry was key figure in the Bulls' dynasty and meant so much to the Bulls, White Sox & city of Chicago"
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 21, 2017
Phil Jackson said in a statement:
The following is a statement from Knicks President Phil Jackson on the passing of Jerry Krause: pic.twitter.com/LI7UApKypL
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 21, 2017
How did Jerry Krause die?
Krause retired as Chicago Bulls’ general manager in 2003. The official explanation at the time of his retirement was that he was battling health problems.