SPORTS

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February 22, 2002

An open Letter to Mr. Jerry Krause

Dear Mr. Jerry Krause:

Fuck you.

You heard me. May your mouth always taste like salty goat testicles; may you contract gonorrhea.

You are the bane of every Chicago Bulls fan's existence.

To my dismay, after chasing away the greatest athlete that ever lived (Michael Jordan), exiling his sidekick (Scottie Pippen) to basketball Siberia, and forcing the sport's most successful coach to retire (Phil Jackson), you decided on Tuesday morning to give the green light on a seven-player blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers. You decided to trade Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, Ron Artest, and Kevin Ollie to the Indiana Pacers, in exchange for Jalen Rose, Travis Best, and a rookie named Richardson.

Granted, Mercer and Miller for Rose makes sense for both the Pacers and the Bulls. Both Mercer and Miller are overpaid. The two combine to make $11 million a year. By trading for Rose, the Bulls address their biggest weakness, a lack of a go-to guy. But by throwing in Artest and Ollie for Best to make the deal work, you have made the stupidest trade ever.

In two years, mark my words, people will be saying that Tuesday's trade should have been Rose for only Artest. Jordan, reigning god of basketball and Chicago, proclaimed that Artest is probably, pound for pound, "the best one-on-one defender in the league." At 6 foot 7, Artest is a force to be reckoned with. Night in and night out, he is the designated defensive stopper. In one of the few bright points this season, a victory against the Lakers, Artest emphatically stuffed Kobe from behind as Kobe attempted to tie the game on a drive to the basket. That block stifled any chance of a late Lakers rally. The Bulls went on to the sweep the Lakers this season.

Artest is a future all-star. Each season he has matured and developed his offensive game. Despite battling injuries and inconsistent playing time this season, Artest averaged 15.6 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.06 steals. But his statistics are not indicative of how good he could be. Artest's competitive presence on the court pushes his teammates to win. He scrambles for rebounds, steals, and boxes out — all the necessary components for a star player. But most importantly, Artest despises losing. When asked by management (no doubt, it was probably you) to sit out the remainder of this season to nurse his right finger injury, Artest defiantly replied that he would continue to play through the pain. "The Bulls are still rebuilding," Artest said. "If we were going to the playoffs, how can you sit out? But that's what management always says. 'We're rebuilding.' Right? So I have to rebuild my finger...I'm not a rebuilding type of guy. I came back because I want to win. I don't believe in .500. I believe in us winning every game."

Krause, this letter is not a spontaneous rant from an inane Bulls fan. It represents many years of accumulated frustration, anger, and disbelief over the stupidity of your actions. This thing between you and me, well, it's personal.

On the night of last year's NBA draft, when you traded Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers for rights to high school rookie Tyson Chandler (who has thus far produced nothing), my friend and no-longer-loyal Chicago Bulls fan Vijay Narendran had to cry himself to sleep. I had to console him with the fact that his second favorite player, Artest, was still there. But now with Artest gone and a bleak future on the horizon, Vijay and I are left with nothing but rumpled Kleenexes and forlorn Brand's Bulls jerseys.

You claim that the Bulls are progressing and rebuilding. "The team needs to lose and risk big in order to make big gains." Well, a legion of future lottery first-picks or Jalen Roses —level trades will not fix the fucked up mess you've made. Quite simply, all of the Chicago Bulls' problems lie in you.

Following Jordan's retirement in 1998, the other Jerry and you dismantled and reformed the Bulls into a bunch of rag-tag players that could not compete in a high school league. For the past three-and-a-half seasons, the Bulls are 57 - 209. That's 209 losses in about three years. The current Bulls are also at a whopping 23 percent winning average. Under Jordan, the Bulls never sank any lower than 32 percent, and that was with MJ, as a rookie, out for half the season.

As I said before, Jerry, you are the bane of every Chicago Bulls fan's existence. You are the piss on my toilet seat.

You must leave, resign, quit, whatever, as long as the other Jerry and you immediately pack your bags and high skirt it out of the United Center on the southbound Blue Line. Perhaps the New York Knicks could use your services. Only until the two of you are gone can the Bulls quit playing like shit and regain my long-gone trust.

Keeping it real,

Mr. Yeah