From what I've pieced together, Kerr wanted Norm to be there on his night.
From the Trib
Kerr's sister, Joan, attended Sunday's wake for Van Lier and disputed the notion that Kerr did not invite Van Lier to be part of his special ceremony Feb. 10 at the United Center.
"Red loved Norm," she said of the mix-up. "He was on Johnny's list."
OK... mix up turns out to not quite be the right word, even if its the word the Bulls used:
Van Lier recently had not been on the best of terms with the franchise, which did not invite him to be part of Kerr’s halftime ceremony.
Bulls officials reportedly were upset by comments Van Lier made the month before to the Chicago Tribune. Van Lier said Bulls fans during his playing days were more passionate than today’s crowds.
Which got a response from, of all people, Neil Funk:
Van Lier was there that night. He stood in the wings among the masses watching the ceremony, trying to catch a glimpse of Kerr.
"I love Johnny like a brother," Van Lier said almost tearfully as he leaned over the press table. "I should have been out there with him."
Never afraid of speaking from his heart, Van Lier would repeat himself later on Comcast SportsNet.
Neil Funk, the master of ceremonies that night, said that in the rush to move Kerr's ceremony two months earlier in order to accommodate his failing health, he was certain the exclusion of Van Lier was a simple oversight.
"It wasn't intentional," Funk said. "Norm loved Johnny and Johnny loved Norm."
Yeah... they flew in dozens of guys from around the country, but somehow "forgot" about a guy who Kerr wanted there, and who was actually in attendence?
F that, and F this classless and incompetent organization.