CHARLOTTE, NC –
ESPNS’ The Last Dance aired Sunday night (Apr. 19) after months of anticipation.
The 10 part docu-series explores the journey of the championship ’97-’98 Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson led the team through the tumultuous journey of its final year together. It was a year that was full of drama and headlines as internal disputes became the center of attention. Despite the noise, Jordan and the Bulls cashed in for ring #6.
On Sunday’s episode of Brian’s World Live, we shifted the focus from lessons in basketball to lessons in leadership. The docu-series exposed some key attributes of organizational theory that when practiced correctly, leads organizations to success. We could all learn lessons from how Jerry Krause handled this Bulls team. Players began to resent Krause for how he ran the team and the documentary exposed both his talent and arrogance.
It was my personal take that from the outside looking in, Jerry Krause wanted to dismantle the Bulls just to build them again. This team had found its stride with, or without Krause’s moves. Former Bulls coach Tim Floyd says that Krause was set on breaking up the Bulls and that he couldn’t work with Phil Jackson, CBS Sports reports. During an interview on ESPN 104.5 (Baton Rouge) Floyd shared recanted a conversation that he had with Bulls owner, Jerry Reinsdorf.
As transcribed by ESPN:
“Anyhow, I told Jerry Reinsdorf that day,” Floyd said on the radio show, “I don’t think Jerry [Krause] understands that these guys are basically the Beatles. This is the most popular franchise of all time. I said, ‘If I’m you, I would not do this. Not even the following year. Let it die a natural death because there are certain teams and players that you just don’t break up. I think these guys have earned the right to let it die its own death.'”
“Jerry Reinsdorf asked me, ‘Tim, would you tell Jerry Krause what you told me in downtown Seattle about next year?'” Floyd said. “I told Jerry Krause, and he said you don’t understand, I can’t do it. I don’t want to work with Phil again. I said, ‘Why don’t you work downtown and let Phil work out of the other place [facility]?’ Y’all just stay the hell away from each other because it’s working.”
With rumors floating around the building, it’s no secret that Krause’s actions sucked the life out of this team.
Tim Floyd, who took over after Krause fired Phil Jackson, was completely right when he said this should have died a natural death. It’s sad that the ego of one of the organization’s leaders has caused years of bad memories for the Chicago fan-base.
Since the 1997-98 season, the Bulls haven’t made the playoffs as consistent as they did during the Jordan-era. It’s no telling what could have unfolded for the organization if they had let this group’s legacy end organically.
Poor management is a cloud that rains down on the organization. Hopefully Krause’s poor decision-making has been an example to other general managers and officials of what not to do with a championship nucleus.
Looking forward to the rest of The Last Dance. Watch the full episode of Brian’s World Live on The Last Dance and get caught up.