- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
It's all a loyalty thing for Krause, this problem with detractors and leakers; quite simply, if you do something counter to his wishes, you are being disloyal. Since he is never disloyal to those he respects—Reinsdorf and all those dead benefactors (Peterson died 17 years ago)—why should anyone be disloyal to him? When McKinney left the Bulls five years ago for a better job with the Minnesota Timberwolves, as director of player personnel, Krause would not speak to him for two years. The two men eventually made up; rather, Krause accepted that McKinney had simply taken a step up the career ladder. Then, in 1992, McKinney became general manager of the Pistons. In the Detroit media guide it says that McKinney "helped build the championship team in Chicago" and "is credited with finding Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant." statements that are essentially true. But Krause saw in them nothing but betrayal, and when McKinney came up to Krause in the Bulls' locker room after a recent game in Milwaukee, hand extended, Krause stared at him coldly and said only, "——you."
The Sleuth is scouting talent at a game in Chapel Hill, N.C., between North Carolina and Georgia Tech. The Sleuth has problems. Though he's in the ninth row behind the Tar Heel bench, he can't see anything because the raucous crowd stands for the entire game. "This used to be the best place in America to scout." he says in anguish. "This (standing] just started. It's like Duke all over again. You just can't go to Duke. Duke's crazy."
But all is not lost. Krause met the parents of star Tar Heel center Eric Montross before the game, a nice bonus, and now he is knuckling down and getting serious. "This is good discipline," he says as the building rocks around him. "It's hard to write while you're standing, but you zero in. You totally concentrate. This is my competition. This is my game."
Is Krause, perchance, looking at Tar Heel players as a favor to Jordan, a North Carolina alumnus who loves everything about his alma mater? "No way," Krause says. "This just happens to be Tech's toughest road game this year."
Krause's rift with Jordan cries out for deeper explanation. "I'm the only one who has told him no," says Krause. "When he had the broken foot back in 1985, I told him he couldn't play. If we had let him run rampant, we wouldn't have the two championships.
"This kid has had his butt kissed by everybody in the world except his parents and me. If we listened to him we'd have [former Tar Heel guard] Buzz Peterson on the team! My goal is not to be his friend. My goal is to win titles."
Jordan remembers well that day seven years ago when Krause told him he couldn't play. For Jordan it wasn't just what Krause said, it was also the way he said it—coldly. "He said, 'You're Bulls property now, and we tell you what to do.' I was a young, enthusiastic kid, and that just made me realize this was a business, not a game. We never hit it off after that."
Bull players laugh about Krause's incessant coughing, his "bark" that makes him sound like a seal. They don't know that the cough is caused by a narrowing in his throat, for which he needs surgery. But he refuses to make the time for the operation because he is too busy trying to bring winners to Chicago fans, to become the first general manager since Red Auerbach to win three straight NBA titles.
But Krause, the $300,000-a-year workaholic, talks more and more about getting a house by a "man-made" lake, about someday moving out of the modest three-bedroom home in blue-collar Skokie, where he has lived since he married Thelma, and maybe relaxing a bit. The Skokie home, after ah, was Thelma's. "Jerry says he's going to learn how to fish," she says. "I can see him out on the lake, gliding along."
But, of course, he would never give up scouting. That is something he always wants to do. To be old and sit alone at a game, a baseball game, that would be nice, he often thinks. To be old like Hasselman and maybe to befriend a kid just starting out, a respectful kid who's eager to learn—that would be nice, too. A ball game is a beautiful thing to Krause, with its symmetry and its mystery. "It's a time that I like," he says. In the sun, a ball moving through the sky. A oneness arises. Simplicity and fairness. Good things. Things that can bring an observer pleasure, like a great painting. Things that could bring Krause peace.