Michael Jordan pays tribute after death of Jerry Krause, architect of Bulls dynasty

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The NBA may not be the NBA it is today without Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, making professional basketball one of the most popular sports in the world.

The man responsible for building a Bulls dynasty that would forever change the leagues history, Jerry Krause, passed away at the age of 77 on Tuesday. The Bulls confirmed his death.

Krause made several key personnel decisions after taking over as Bulls general manager in 1985, including hiring Phil Jackson, pulling off a draft-day trade to land Scottie Pippen and drafting Horace Grant. Jordan released a statement on his passing shortly after news broke.

Here's what he said, via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune:

Perhaps most pivotal in Krause's decision making was firing head coach Doug Collins to promote Jackson, who was unproven as a head coach in the NBA at the time. Jackson went on to become a legendary figure in the world of basketball, coaching 11 championship teams.

Krause built around Jordan on two occasions, providing the pieces and vision needed to create two very different teams that achieved three-peats. He didn't draft Jordan, but he was the man who finally got MJ over the hump that was the Detroit Pistons.

"The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause," Bulls chairman Jerry Reindsorf said in a statement on Bulls.com. " He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s."

He was also responsible for bringing Ron Harper, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and Toni Kuko into the fold. That second group helped Jordan immediately recapture the NBA championship after his return from retirement. 

Those roster decisions were all integral in Jordan's six championships, and the Bulls becoming one of the greatest success stories in sports. That's why he won the NBA Executive of the Year award twice. 

Krause retired from his post as general manager of the Bulls in 2003, ending a nearly 20-year career with Chicago. His decisions molded one of the biggest sports franchises of all-time, and nothing can detract from his role in that.

Fans were critical of Krause's decision making in his final years, but ultimately his legacy should and will be that he provided the bricks Jordan used to build a house of hoops in Chicago. Krause was a native of the city. 

Krause is survived by his wife, two children, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held for Krause on April 9. 

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