Funeral held for Johnny 'Red' Kerr

March 5, 2009 2:27:13 PM PST
A standing-room only crowd packed a chapel Thursday to pay final respects to Chicago Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr. Former teammates, friends, family, and colleagues all came to honor the life of the great Johnny "Red" Kerr, the first-ever Bulls coach, a long-time commentator, a loyal friend, and a mentor to many.

"He was a prankster, I don't think a lot of people knew that he was a practical joker. I mean, putting sandwiches in guys' bags, and they wouldn't find them for two weeks, they'd be molded in the bag. Just a great guy and was the ultimate Chicago Bulls fan. I would put him up there with Harry Caray as far as his iconic stage for the Chicago Bulls. Just a remarkable person," said Stacey King, former Chicago Bull.

"He taught me the game of basketball. I played football. He took me under his wing, taught me X's and O's, but in addition to the X's and O's, he taught me to love the game. That's what I really enjoyed, was Red's passion for the game and passion for his friends and family," said Jim Angio, Comcast director.

The Chicago native attended Tilden High School. He led his team to a Chicago Public League title in 1950. He also led the Fighting Illini to a Final Four before becoming a three-time NBA all-star.

"Johnny was a great player. I was a fringe player. And the best award I got was the medal of honor for lasting with Johnny for 10 years as a roommate. But he and I, and his family and my family, we go back a long time. And I just loved the guy," said Al Bianchi, former teammate.

"And an ambassador for life and an ambassador for the city of Chicago and a great ambassador for the NBA. The hall of fame never quite recognized him the way they should have, he's a guy who's definitely in the human being hall of fame," said Brian McIntyre, senior vice president of NBA Communications.

The Bulls will honor both Red and Norm Van Lier by wearing patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.