The Golden State Warriors defeated the Chicago Bulls 140-131 following a second-half surge on Friday, but the game was marred by fans at the arena booing Bulls’ former general manager Jerry Krause during a Ring of Honor ceremony at halftime, leaving his widow, Thelma, visibly upset.
Krause, who oversaw Chicago’s legendary run of six championships between 1991 and 1998, died in 2017 and was being posthumously recognized alongside the 1995-96 championship team as a franchise icon.
After the game, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who played for the Bulls from 1993-98, winning three titles, called the booing “shameful” and added that he was “devasted” by it.
“I cannot believe it,” he told reporters after the game. “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.”
“Whether people liked Jerry or not, whether they disagreed with decisions… we’re here to celebrate that team and Jerry did an amazing job building that team.”
Although Krause built the Bulls dynasty that dominated the NBA in the 1990s, he is often perceived by fans as being responsible for its breakup.
Krause’s “legacy deserves to be celebrated and respected,” Bulls president and CEO Michael Reinsdorf said in a statement to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.
“We were incredibly honored to have Thelma with us this evening to recognize Jerry as a member of the inaugural Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor.”
Meanwhile, on the court, Klay Thompson scored 30 points and Steph Curry added 27, including 15 in the fourth quarter, propelling the Warriors to an important victory following two consecutive blowout losses.
After a slow start that saw Thompson and Curry miss 10 of their first 11 shots, the Warriors outscored the Bulls 48-20 in the third quarter to enter the final quarter with a 16-point lead and overturn a halftime deficit.
The Bulls came within four points of the Warriors with less than three minutes remaining, but they could not close the gap completely, even with the efforts of DeMar DeRozan who finished with a game-high 39 points.