Bulls Ring of Honor ceremony gets ugly as fans loudly boo Jerry Krause in front of his widow

A Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor ceremony featuring Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and many more sounds like a fun time for all. It wound up getting ugly instead.

None of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman showed up for the Bulls' ceremony honoring their inaugural Ring of Honor class at halftime on Friday, with all of them sending video addresses to at least acknowledge the event. Jordan's video wasn't what we would describe as emotional.

Other honorees included Phil Jackson, Toni Kukoc, Artis Gilmore, Tex Winter, Chet Walker, the entire 1995-96 team, Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Dick Klein and Jerry Krause.

It was that last name which caused the ceremony to enter disgraceful territory.

To put it mildly, Krause, the Bulls' general manager from 1985 to 2003, is not popular among Chicago fans. Jordan famously despised him and he is widely blamed for the exit of Jackson in 1998, which precipitated the collapse of the team's dynasty. Krause died in 2017, so he wasn't able to defend himself when the team's legacy was re-examined in ESPN's "The Last Dance." Instead, the whole documentary became a chance for everyone to dump on Krause.

So it shouldn't have been a huge surprise when Bulls fans loudly jeered Krause's name when he was announced. It still was a surprise, though, because some in the United Center crowd booed with Krause's widow Thelma there.

Thelma Krause didn't seem to take the boos of her late husband well:

You can see a closer look at her reaction here.

Among the many people bothered by the sight of fans booing an elderly woman because they hate what they think her husband did to their sports team was Bulls color commentator Stacey King, who played for the Bulls alongside Jordan and under Krause from 1989 to 1994.

He opened the third quarter by ripping into those fans:

King's reaction:

"I'm a little upset right now ... We just had a remarkable ceremony, bringing back the legends and I'll tell you what, Chicago is a sports town. What we witnessed today when Kerry Krause's name was called and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I hurt for that lady. Brought her to tears.

"Whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves. That's not Chicago, that's New York, Philly. Chicago's not like that. We don't have a reputation of being that way. Whether you like Jerry Krause or not, that man brought six championships here. He didn't shoot a basket nor did he get a rebound, but he put six titles up in this arena. There's a lot of teams that only have one. That was really classless. I was disappointed in the people that booed. It was a sad thing."

Unfortunately, it seems quite possible Chicago will now have a reputation of being that way.

It obviously wasn't all Bulls fans booing Krause, and it's not like some criticism of Krause isn't warranted. But the man's Ring of Honor ceremony is not the place to do it, especially when it's his widow there and not him. It's probably worth remembering Krause did draft two players (Pippen, Kukoc), traded for another (Rodman) and hired two of the coaches (Jackson, Winter) being inducted.

If those Bulls fans really wanted to complain about the direction their team has taken in the last 25 years, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf was right there.

Reinsdorf's son, Bulls team president Michael Reinsdorf didn't criticize the jeering in a statement after the ceremony, but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, a Bulls player under Krause and the Bulls' opponent on Friday, had some very harsh words:

"It's shameful. Absolutely shameful. I cannot believe — I'm devastated for Thelma and for the Krause family. What can we possibly be thinking? I cannot believe that the fans — and you have to understand, when you hear boos, it's not all of them, right? So the fans who booed, they know who they are. ...

"What are we doing? Whether people liked Jerry or not, whether they disagreed with the decision to move on, we're here to celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team. Tonight and last night was all about the joy and love that that team shared with the city and I'm so disappointed in the fans, and I want to be specific because there are lots of fans, I'm sure, who did not boo. Both those who booed, they should be ashamed."

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan was also critical, saying it "sucks" Krause's family had to hear his treatment, via Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune:

"Rest his soul, he played a major part in the success that the Bulls had, created one of the greatest teams ever assembled. You've got to give him credit. That man had family, friends that's still here that ought to be appreciated and shouldn't be disrespected in no type of way by hearing boos or anything like that.

“It just sucks their family had to endure something like that. You can never take away what he created. Without Jerry, there wouldn’t be the Chicago Bulls history. You gotta give him credit for as long as basketball is around.”

The Bulls lost to the Warriors 140-131.