Jerry Krause was the architect behind the 90s Chicago Bulls dynasty being the GM of the team for 18 years (1985-2003).
He was also the man that believed the most successful Chicago team ever has reached its peak in the 1996-1997 season.
K.C. Johnson at NBC Sports Chicago got access to and published selected excerpts of Krause’s unpublished and unfinished memoir.
In one of these, Krause talks about the conditioning of the Bulls’ team and the way Al Vermeil, the longtime strength and conditioning coach, helped several players to stretch their careers.
“He was able to help veteran players stretch their careers – among them Dave Corzine, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, Steve Kerr and others. He helped skinny draftees like Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant and, with their work ethics, making them stronger and quicker.
He got players to believe that strength and conditioning work could win championships and make them a lot of money, helped to convince players to stay in Chicago most of the offseason and work as a unit to get better and stronger.
From the 1986-87 season to our last title run in 1998, we had few major injuries. Phil (Jackson) was a factor in that too because he had an uncanny ability to see a guy needed a day or two off or his minutes reduced at times during the season.
And I’m not going to tell you that MJ (Michael Jordan) was among Al’s wonders because he was not,” Krause noted. “The greatest athlete in the world, with more stamina than any athlete I’ve ever seen, worked in his own way privately to gain bulk. Later he hired a personal trainer [Tim Grover] to help guide him…
Al was extremely introspective, a great family man, a guy who a player could confide in and who I could throw ideas at and get sound answers. He was much more than a strength and conditioning coach. When I got ripped for saying, ‘Players and coaches alone don’t win championships, organizations do,‘ he was one of the people I was talking about.”