Former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause detailed how Michael Jordan could have hurt the team badly after that sixth trophy in 1998.
Krause is perhaps the one held most responsible for breaking the Bulls up and fans have gotten some behind-the-scenes info from The Last Dance where that’s concerned. His relationship with MJ and Scottie Pippen wasn’t great at all and the two stars hardly missed an opportunity to belittle him. Yet there was still mutual respect between the now-deceased GM and the man who helped bring the Bulls all six of their championships.
In an excerpt from an unpublished memoir given to NBA Sports Chicago‘s K.C. Johnson by the Krause family, Jerry revealed that Michael didn’t have to retire after the famed Last Dance and could have held the Bulls hostage. He had cut the index finger on his shooting hand with a cigar cutter during the summer and needed surgery. Krause reckons he could have easily forced the team into handing him a huge contract then go on the disabled list and collect checks for doing nothing.
To his everlasting credit, at the end of his time with the Bulls he could have really screwed the franchise big time and he didn’t. In the summer after winning the last championship he’d cut his index finger of his shooting hand very badly with a cigar cutter. It was seriously questionable if he could regain enough movement in the finger to be himself again as a shooter. He could have easily put us in an extremely tough situation by saying he wanted to play and force us to sign him to the biggest contract in team sports history. It would then have been easy to go on the disabled list with the finger injury and spend the rest of that strike-shortened season picking up checks every two weeks and not playing at all. But Michael being Michael, once he signed a contract, he gave you a thousand percent effort and would not think of stiffing you.
The excerpt highlights the similarities between Krause and Jordan. While they were always at loggerheads with each other, they both wanted to win. It’s just a pity they had very different ideas as to how to keep winning in Chicago.