Steve Kerr reacts to ‘shameful' boos directed towards Jerry Krause during Ring of Honor ceremony

Steve Kerr reacts to ‘shameful' boos directed towards Jerry Krause during Ring of Honor ceremony originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

What was supposed to be a special night --- and still was, for what it's worth --- for the Bulls franchise legends during the organization's inaugural Ring of Honor ceremony, was spoiled by senseless booing towards former general manager Jerry Krause.

Unfortunately, the boos outweighed the cheers for the former two-time NBA Executive of the Year (1988, 1996). It was a merciless scene. Thelma Krause, Jerry's widowed wife, was overcome with tearful emotion from the booing, as she was there to honor Jerry and accept his induction into the Bulls' first Ring of Honor class.

Former Bulls point guard, now Golden State Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, reacted to the boos after the game. He mentioned he didn't truly hear them but was told they happened after reentering the floor from his halftime locker room break with the team.

"It's shameful," Kerr said of the booing postgame. "It's absolutely shameful. I cannot believe it. I'm devastated for Thelma, for the Krause family. What can we possibly be thinking? ... And you have to understand, when you hear boos, it's not all of them, right? The fans who booed, they know who they are. To me, it's absolutely shameful and I'm devastated by that."

Kerr, 58, played for the Bulls for five seasons as a backup point guard. He was on each of the three teams that won the Bulls' second three-peat championship in the 90s.

He played in all 82 regular season games for four straight seasons. He only played 50 in 1997-98. Krause was with the Bulls during that same span.

Krause signed Kerr as a free agent during the 1993 offseason.

"Whether people liked Jerry or not, whether they disagreed with the decisions to move on from ... (Editor's note: likely talking about Krause's disbandment of the 1998 team) whatever ... We're here to celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team. Tonight and last night were all about the joy and the love that that team shared with the city. And I'm disappointed in the fans, those who booed, they should be ashamed."

During halftime of Friday night's Bulls-Warriors game, the organization honored its first Ring of Honor class. The class included 13 inductees who provided invaluable contributions to the Bulls in its history.

The class included Artis Gilmore, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Johnny “Red” Kerr, Dick Klein, Jerry Krause, Toni Kukoc, Bob Love, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Jerry Sloan, Chet Walker, Tex Winter, and the 1995-96 team, which went 72-10 and won the 1996 NBA Championship.

Kerr wasn't the only former Bull from that era to react to the fans' booing, either. Several other former Bulls were disappointed during that portion of the evening. Current Bulls CEO Michael Reinsdorf also released a statement following the game, honoring Krause's legacy.

"What we witnessed today when Jerry 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. And whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves," NBC Sports Chicago color commentator and former Bull Stacey King said on the broadcast.

"First of all, fans, we don't boo Jerry Krause," former Bull Ron Harper said during the game to a group of reporters in the Bulls' tunnel. "The man's done a lot of great things here. He may not be your favorite person, but we cheer to respect the man. And I didn't really appreciate that part. But for the whole ceremony, it was awesome."

Krause, who died in March 2017, led the Bulls front office when the organization won six championships in nine years. He won the NBA's Executive of the Year award in 1988 and 1996.

He was responsible for several franchise-altering moves including trading for Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley and drafting Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong and signing Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc. Krause was inarguably one of the league's best executives in its history, despite his sometimes ungratifying public perception.

Despite the unfortunate reaction to an overall successful and nostalgic evening, Kerr enjoyed his inclusion in the two-day celebration.

"The whole couple of days was special to be with the group and to see everybody, family members, kids all grown up," Kerr said. "That was a long time ago but it was a really special era. And I'm lucky to be a part of it and I'm lucky to have played in Chicago. This is an amazing city and a great place to play. I'm thrilled to have been honored with the group these last couple of days."

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