The Last Dance Doc Dropped

And Jerry Krause was trending quickly.

Jim Rome
April 20, 2020 - 9:35 am
97-98 Chicago Bulls

USA Today

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You never need a reason to revisit those intros, but last night provided the perfect reason because The Last Dance started last night.  

And it had a lot of what you would expect: Michael and Scottie, a little Dennis, some Phil. But as good as those two episodes were and believed me in the absence of anything else in sports, they were excellent; they just didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know. Well, except for one thing: the fact that the Bulls were a quote, “traveling cocaine circus.” Something that even Mike seen to think was hilarious:

Traveling cocaine circus is one hell of a description. And now is about to be used in about a billion fantasy team names.

And here was another surprise from the first episode: a whole lot of Krumbs Krause. Here’s something I never expected to happen so early in the doc, Jerry Krause trending on Twitter.

But man, was the GM taking some in that first episode. He took a hell of a lot. He was getting it on all sides. The fact that the players and Phil really didn’t like the guy is nothing new, but I didn’t think we were going to get to that so quickly. The venom and vitriol was fierce. Personal fodder may not be a thing here, but it was there: as MJ LIT INTO KRAUSE with fat jokes and short jokes, AND all in the same joke.

That is Michael Jordan, talking to the GM of the Bulls, and saying “so those are the pills to keep you short. Or are those diet pills.” In other words, not only are you short. You’re fat. You short AND fat. And the way you can stay that short and that fat is by taking pills to keep you that short and fat. MJ was going after Krause as hard as he went after his teammates, and that we pretty bleeping hard as well.  

But the take home message from last night was that those guys hated Jerry Krause. And the way it shows up in that doc, you can see why. First things first, and this needs to be acknowledged off the top: The guy deserves a hell of a lot of credit for assembling the roster that he did. For surrounding Jordan with guys like Pippen, Rodman, Harper, Kukoc, Kerr, and more. And for bringing in Phil Jackson as the head coach, the perfect guy to manage that roster.

That is a ridiculous roster that he put together. Period. So there’s that. But, the only thing more ridiculous than that roster is the idea that they would blow it up after winning two straight titles. And that sure seemed like it was the plan.

And what the hell kind of plan is that? How unfathomable is it that they were actually considering not letting them defend their back-to-back titles? You have the chance to make history and Krause was looking to blow it up. And team owner Jerry Reinsdorf seemed pretty fine with it, too.

And again it wasn’t just the players that were beefing with Krause. It was Phil Jackson as well. And Jackson managed to get on the wrong side of Krause after pushing back on what Krause was offering him. And even more importantly, because Krause saw Jackson as someone else who was getting credit that Krause thought he himself deserved. So Krause was looking to break him off. Even after he won FIVE, five rings. 

Listen, Phil Jackson might not be the easiest guy to get along with, but he’d just won you five titles and you’re thinking about NOT bringing him back for another? How insane is that? Jerry Jones saying he could win a super bowl with 500 other coaches besides Jimmy Johnson can’t believe how jacked up that thinking is. And truthfully, Jerry DID win another super bowl with another coach. Nothing since, but he did get one more. Krause, on the other hand, was not just looking to run off a five time champion, but was actively and publicly recruiting and grooming Iowa State’s Tim Floyd to be the next head coach, while you still have a Hall of Fame head coach as your head coach. Tim Floyd. Not Pat Riley. Tim Freaking Floyd. And you if you want to know how jacked Krause was in his own head, how far off the reservation he had wandered, look no further than this story….he invited everyone who is anyone to his stepdaughter’s wedding, including Tim Floyd, but not Phil Jackson. That actually happened. 

That is brass as hell. And reckless as hell.

My question is, Where the hell was Reinsdorf in all that? Sure, he had that crack about how someone would be relieved not to be invited to a wedding, but where was the owner in all this? Why didn’t he step in before it got to all this?

Who takes the GM’s side over Jordan’s side in that? Because that’s why Reinsdorf did.   Because Jordan had already made it clear that he wouldn’t play for anyone other than Phil Jackson. He actually said that. Yet, there was Krause calling Phil into his office and telling him this would be his final season: telling him he could go f’ing 82-0 and he still wouldn’t’ be back.

Why was Reinsdorf siding with the guy who told Phil he could go 82-0 and still wouldn’t be back???

What kind of an idiotic plan is that? Is that some weird motivational crap? Was he trying to be cute with it because he knew the guys hated Krause and nothing would unite this team and that coaching staff more than their collective hatred of Krause? Or did he actually think that was a good idea and that was the plan he really wanted to go with and that Krause was more important to the organization than his hall of fame coach? 

And speaking of that plan, the whole plan that Krause was cooking up seemed dumb as hell. Was his take really that the guys not named Jordan were getting old, so he was going to get rid of everyone and rebuild around Jordan? And was it because he didn’t want them age out and it’s always better to get rid of guys a little too early as opposed to holding on to them a little too long, ala the hoodie in New England. Or, was Krause looking to get rid of everyone not named Jordan because he thought everyone NOT NAMED KRAUSE was getting credit for the dynasty. And he got sick of that. And wanted to get his??

Because this notion that they were old, busted up and falling apart, is garbage. Because Pippen, Kukoc, Longley, and Kerr were all younger than Jordan. If the idea was that guys were getting worn out because of the long playoff runs, I get that, but the solution isn’t to just pack C4 around the roster and blow it up.

You’re just going to roll out with Jordan, Jason Caffey, Dickey Simpkins, Rusty LaRue and expect to compete for titles? Slap them together with Tim Floyd, win a ring, and then everyone would finally know that Jerry Krause was the real reason they have all the rings.

If anyone should know how hard it is to win a title, or to even be a good team, it should be anyone associated with the Bulls at that time. They had gone from being the traveling cocaine circus to a dynasty, not because of some magical spell…sure, in part because of that so called short fat guy who picked the players and the coach, but not BECAUSE OF HIM. They were a dynasty because they had three Hall of Fame players, arguably the greatest European player at the time, and a Hall of Fame coach. But Krause thought they could blow it up and retool. And the owner was ok with that. L? Get the hell out of here with that.

Not only did they think they could re-tool, but there genuinely was a debate about whether they’d even get to defend their second straight title. That is flat out stupid. For a moment, they were even going to let them go for a three peat. 

Again, Krause deserves a ton of respect for what he did in assembling that Bulls roster, but that was idiotic to nearly blow the thing up too early. Credit for the six, but no credit for nearly destroying it before they got there. Credit for obviously have the eye and acumen to bring it eh likes of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, but clearly his greatest attribute and strength was getting the players and coaches to hate his guts: because in the end, that was the most galvanizing, unifying thing he could have ever done for that organization. And if that was his plan, it worked to perfection. And even if it wasn’t, it still did.