Friday, 13 August 2021

Michael Jordan to Present Toni Kukoč at Basketball Hall of Fame Induction

August 13, 2021 - The legendary Michael Jordan will present Toni Kukoč at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month!

After it was announced in May that Toni Kukoč would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Illinois, we learned on Thursday that one of the greatest basketball legends to live would introduce the Croatian basketballer to the Hall of Fame.

When talking about basketball greats, it's impossible to miss mentioning the legendary American basketball player and one of the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan, Kukoč's teammate on the Chicago Bulls. Jerry Reinsdorf, longtime owner of the Bulls, will join Jordan on stage with the former Croatia national team player during the ceremony on September 11, 2021, at the MassMutual Center. 

Along with Kukoč, owner of three NBA rings, the 2021 class includes Val Ackerman, Rick Adelman, Chris Bosh, Bob Dandridge, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Howard Garfinkel, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Clarence Jenkins, Pearl Moore, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, and Jay Wright.

Toni Kukoč will become the fifth Croat in the Basketball Hall of Fame after Krešimir Ćosić (1996), Dražen Petrović (2002), Mirko Novosel (2007) and Dino Rađa (2018).

Although he was a three-time NBA champion and winner of the award for the best sixth player in the strongest league globally, a league where he spent 13 years, Kukoč could not have a place in the Hall of Fame based on his NBA career. That is why he was nominated as a candidate for international basketball, and a special International Committee decides on its representative every year. It consists of seven members, and a nominee must receive six affirmative votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

With the inclusion of Kukoč, Croatia became the country with the most representatives in the Hall of Fame after the USA. So far, it has been tied at the top with Serbia, which has four - Divac, Bora Stankovic, Aleksandar Nikolic, and Drazen Dalipagic.


Kukoč is the only basketball player in history who has not only won the European Champions Cup / Euroleague and the NBA ring three times but did so for three years in a row. During all three European titles with Jugoplastika, he was named the best player of the Final Four, winning two of the most prestigious European individual awards (Euroscar and Mister Europa) nine times. He also won four championships and two Yugoslav cups, as well as the Italian league and cup. In addition, he won the Olympic silver in Barcelona in 1992 and two European and one world bronze with the Croatia national team. He was also an Olympic silver medalist with Yugoslavia in 1988, won the world gold, two European gold, and one bronze and three gold with junior selections.

Source: HRT

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Friday, 22 May 2020

Toni Kukoc Opens Up about Michael Jordan Documentary 'The Last Dance'

May 22, 2020 - ‘The Last Dance’ documentary about Michael Jordan and the legendary generation of the Chicago Bulls broke all rating records, but at the same time provoked fierce reactions. A lot of 'dirty' and hitherto unknown details have come to light, and among them, there are many related to Croatia's Toni Kukoc.

T.portal reports that 'The Last Dance' revealed how difficult it was for Toni Kukoc to fight for a place in that team, and it was even harder for him to fit into that 'chosen society' and earn their respect. First of all, this applies to the main star, the inimitable Michael Jordan, but also others, especially Scottie Pippen.

Now, Toni Kukoc has given an interview to Greek Sport24 in which he revealed that he heard from Michael Jordan a few days ago.

"We talked a few days ago and I told him I was happy the documentary was coming to an end. You know why? Because in the last three weeks, I have received more phone calls than in the previous 20 years," said Kukoc and looked back on his years with the Chicago Bulls. The fact is that not everyone could stand what Jordan did to his teammates...

"He was no different to me and he treated us all the same. He simply pushes you to the extremes. There was a good reason for that because our team had the highest expectations. It wasn’t easy and sure not everyone could handle it all. There was a hierarchy and everyone knew their place in the team and that was always the case," Kukoc recalled and revealed what Drazen Petrovic advised him to do. Namely, it was strange to everyone why Kukoc did not go to the Bulls when he was drafted in 1990, but signed for Benetton and stayed there for two years.

"Drazen Petrovic advised me to do that and I think it was a good decision," Kukoc revealed.

Kukoc recalled meeting Jordan and Pippen at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

"I knew it was a matter of time before we met and that was in Barcelona and it was twice, in the group stage and the final. I didn’t play well the first game because I was guarded by Jordan and Pippen, the two best defensive players in the world. I don't think many people would survive that," said Kukoc, who arrived in the Bulls after Michael Jordan temporarily retired from basketball.

"The fact that he wasn't there for a year and a half made it a lot easier for me because I got more minutes. As soon as Jordan returned, I realized how much it helped me to grow without him because I already played in three different positions," explained Toni Kukoc, who was asked by Greek journalists to name who he thinks is the best basketball player of all time.

"It is very easy for me to answer that question," said Kukoc.

"Michael Jordan has made basketball a global sport. It’s hard to compare LeBron James and this era when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird ruled. It's hard to choose the biggest, but I prefer Jordan because I think he would be the best in every era."

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Brooklyn Nets Remember the Legend Dražen Petrović (Video)

Ahead of their game against the Chicago Bulls, the Brooklyn Nets honored the legacy of Croatian basketball legend Dražen Petrović.