Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  23 responses

R.I.P, Johnny ‘Red’ Kerr

by Marcel Mutoni

It’s been a terrible week for the Chicago Bulls franchise, even more so than usual. The team continues to be awful, and its legends are dying.

Mere hours after Norm Van Lier’s death was announced yesterday, it was the legendary Johnny “Red” Kerr’s turn to shuffle off of this mortal coil.

From the Sun-Times:

The saddest day in the 43-year history of the Bulls concluded late Thursday night with the passing of team legend Johnny Kerr. Kerr, 76, died at approximately 9:50 p.m. at his west suburban Riverside home surrounded by family after a year-long battle with prostate cancer. His death came hours after the announcement of the unexpected death of all-time Bulls point guard Norm Van Lier.

‘‘He was the world’s most wonderful brother and a godsend to basketball and the city of Chicago,’’ sister Joanie Kerr said late Thursday evening. ‘‘I was so proud of him, from the time we were little kids down on South May. I looked up and admired him, not just because he was 6-foot-9, but because he was such an outstanding man. He was a man who was raised without a father, who went out and made something great of himself and who brought so much joy and laughter to the lives of so many people. I am very sad right now, but I am so thankful that at least his suffering is over.’’

Kerr, arguably the most beloved personality in franchise history, is survived by his five children (and ten grandchildren), and Bulls fans everywhere who consider him a part of their own families.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Rest In Peace. My condolences go out to his family and the entire Bulls franchise.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Damn. I’m glad he was able to enjoy his tribute, though. Prayers to his family and godspeed to him. The Bulls will never be the same.

  • mike

    Two great pieces of their history gone so quickly

  • Rich

    It was shocking to get the sad news about two Chicago legends, IN THE SAME DAY. But we all gotta leave here, and yesterday was both their days.

  • Malik

    Yesterday was a sad day for state of the Chicago Bulls. Van Lier and Kerr died on the same day. But, like Eboy said, I’m glad that he lived long enough to see the tribute to him.

  • Malik

    My prayers & condolences go out to both Van Lier’s and Kerr’s family as well.

  • Ryan

    wow.im so mad how could this happen? so quick it was just a couple days ago seeing norm and he was healthy and johnny was doing well but it was still unexpected it was a bad blow and we will all mis them and the bulls will have to make the play offs and win it all for them when paxton made those great trade norm van lier did say”we are back in buissness.” we will never forgot you guys and i will keep your family in my prayers and good luck derrick rose and every one else derrick rose is amazing and i know he probably loved johnny and derrick i cant belive ur already in the nba i mean just two years ago u were in high school and now im in high school good luck bulls and r.i.p norm and red we all love you both

  • slamfan4life

    Damn Chi lost 2 great legends, RIP Red and Norm

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Awful. Smart of the Bulls to have moved up his tribute.

  • Cizzo

    Chi-town keep yall head’s up!

  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    RIP to both great men

  • http://myspace.com/mavus15 Mavus

    PUT HIM IN THE HALL OF FAME, NBA!!! This is nuts.. he has been the face of the Bulls since the start. This is a messed up day in Chicago… and I’m going to miss both of them, now I’m stuck with Stacy King.. wow, that’s bad.

  • Tommy Patron

    R.I.P., Red. I’m not certain I would have become such a hoops fiend without him.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Man, that really hurts. I’m thankful I got to talk to him once. R.I.P., Red, the Chi won’t be the same without you.

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  • http://wherespmac.com Justin Adler

    R.I.P. His tribute was touching and I’m glad he was around for it. The Bulls and WGN broadcasts will never be the same.

  • jose

    R.I.P. to both Kerr and Norm

  • memyselfand9

    peace and blessings.

  • Diesel

    I’m glad Red got a proper send off to see how much this city truly appreciated him. Its a shame that after years of giving his life to this team and city, Norm died alone in his apartment. Bulls, step up and give this man the love he deserves and retire his number.

  • malak33zy

    Kerr and Norm RIP

  • OneStep

    As a kid in England in the early 80s the only way to catch Da Bulls in action was to ship in Pontel videos. The voice of Red was the soundtrack that accompanied the marvels of Jordan & co on screen. Still got the videos. Still got Red recounting those good times. Thanks for the memories Red. R.I.P.

  • airs

    i remember norm van lier expressing how sad and hurt he was that he wasn’t invited out on the court during johnny redd kerr’s ceremony. he was talking about it during the post game show and to know that both of them are gone really sucks. RIP norm and red, they’ll always be part of my childhood.

  • Yassi

    @OneStep: same here….Pontel ;-) ….only Germany, I still got all of them too

    RIP – to both of the classy guys