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Kukoc has entered the Hall Of Fame. This year’s roster includes the two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All-Star. Chris Bosh, NBA Finals MVP and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul pierce, four-time NBA defensive player of the year Ben wallace, the five-time NBA All-Star Chris webber, the ninth winningest coach in NBA history Rick adelman, the NBA’s first black head coach Bill russell, Villanova’s coach two-time NCAA National Champion Jay wright, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda griffith, seven-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson.

Piti Hurtado wanted to pay tribute to the player with this article:

What do you think of Toni Kukoc? What about Toni Kukoc?

This legend with sublime track records enters the Hall of Fame but through the door of the international committee, not through the front door. But come in, finally. When he, if something was, had been a parlor player, without stepping too much neither the kitchen nor the garage, where the toolbox is. Years ago he should have been sitting in an elegant yellow and black armchair in the most polished room in world basketball. But something happens and we don’t know what it is. And this text is not going to give you answers about it, but more questions. There is no megawatt / hour for us to be the ones to shed light on this issue.

“The Pink Panther” is never mentioned in the battered debates by the best European player in history, what if Nowitzki, what if Pau Gasol, what if Petrovic, Sabonis or those who come to that debate, Jokic or Doncic with a path To go. Kukoc was named the best European player up to 5 times, surpassing all the mentioned names except the charisma and parabolic wrist of Dirk Nowitzki, the best scorer born in old Europe. Kukoc. And those 5 nominations were won between 1990 and 1998, during the “prime time” of Sabonis and the years of maturity of Drazen (without forgetting his early death). Now everyone repeats the word excellence to us, but to get all the collective and individual titles that he achieved with such competition, it really is to be amazed.

Was Toni Kukoc that good? No, it was better than good. He shot very well, penetrated skillfully, handled the ball like the best, and had the best possible final pass for a 2.08 (or better) forward.

When was contemporary basketball founded?

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The day Iago Aspas was born. It could not be otherwise, O principe das bateas, an unexpected scorer. But it did not begin to change everything because it coincided that the mother of the Celta de Vigo striker gave birth, but because that August 1, 1987 Toni Kukoc scored 11/12 in triples against the USA in the Junior World Cup that was played at the Palazzo “Pentagon” from Bormio (Italy) near the dreaded Dolomites. The Americans had Larry “Grandma” Johnson, Stacey Augmon “The Plastic Man” and Gary “The Glove” Payton (they had experience and flexibility). A selection of several more players who made it to the NBA. It is not easy to have so much talent and yet… in front was the great accumulation of Yugoslav talent: Luka Pavicevic, Aleksandr ‘Sasha’ Djordjevic, Vlade Divac and Dino Radja were the leaders and the best scorers. But that day Kukoc felt that if you hit a triple, you have to keep shooting, and he did so until 11 baskets of 3. Only a genius can do that without being a pure shooter. He could do everything in attack but he was not a marksman. Now, what mechanical ease. As a curiosity in that game Teoman Albegovic and Nebojsa Ilic played for the ‘Plavi’ (good players later in Europe) and Kevin Pritchard in the USA. The three played and left a different mark on my dear Cáceres CB in the 90s.

Is Kukoc the player who has best passed the ball behind the head in the history of basketball?

Yes, because there is no classification for that. His elasticity, his height, his stride cadence and his reverse wrist strike allowed him to pass behind the back and behind the head with an effective and aesthetic invoice. Curiously, since it was not especially explosive (it did not need it), that lack of a strong blow of power fed the ability to find teammates in court or open penetrations where things got difficult and with the ball up, the best option was an unlikely pass. for defense.

Many of Kukoc’s running passes, whether they were running the court or penetrating, either behind his neck or behind his waist, many of them were jumping, in the air, anticipating help, the space that was going to occupy your partner. Making the receiver have to sprint a little more, which makes the pass even more advantageous.

Is he the best player in history who has shared a team with Jordan and Allen Iverson in his career?

Maybe also, but surely there will be someone who searches and searches until they find an NBA that will also coincide in the same ranks, at different stages with two such absolutely generational players. Kukoc’s sports career has a very marked line: Before JK and after JK If the Chicago Bulls General Manager had not fallen so madly in love (of course, on the other hand) with the Split star, then surely he could have played in the NBA (spare capacity) but not in one of the best teams in history where his role was as the 4th most important player in the game (yes, Dennis Rodman was around) and third scoring option. Simply the brutal weight of reality dropped his scoring averages to less than half. He played with the top scorer in the NBA, who is the unanimous best player in the history of this sport and next to him was one of the best 50.

Is Kukoc the best left-handed exterior in world basketball?

Of the FIBA ​​surely yes. Although before it would be necessary to make clear if it was an outside or not … He played in all offensive positions. But his bounce, pass and ball protection made him useful even at 1 and 2.

At the climax of James Harden’s career, obviously we should not think of a different one for that unofficial distinction. Inside, more than obvious, we have phenomena like Bill Russell or David Robinson. Even Willis Reed or Artis “Sideburns” Gilmore.

Did Toni Kukoc like basketball?


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Some statements from more than 20 years ago, some even awarded to Zeljko Obradovic, say that he did not like it. Or that he didn’t like it enough. There is no statistic on which to reflect how many professional players over 1.95 did not like their trade or did not like it as much as so much fever that they paid their salary from the amateur position. Just being tall and minimally coordinated is perhaps not enough of a vital requirement to marry your profession, the addition that putting baskets dressed in short shorts made you a millionaire sometimes helps, but it seems that not always. Post-morten as a player he has not been seen very close to the profession of coach or sports director. That may be a sign.

Did Toni Kukoc dislike him?

Perhaps it is that he did not fall, but that he played very well. Seen from the prism of the rivalry between the big teams in Spain, the Croatian forward should be someone seen with special sympathy and even with some fervor from Madrid, but it does not seem so. Kukoc was in charge of breaking into many pieces the illusions of a mythical Barça that only got ahead of the long tail of the pink panther, and the stumbles were historic.

The unhealthy level of demand of Michael Jordan with his companions, a high verbal aggressiveness (sometimes even physical) is well documented. But when they were teammates, training, dressing room and airplane. In the case of Kukoc, it seems that the circumstances arose so that between him and Pippen, this sporting “harassment” came early, during the entire courtship that lasted several seasons. The interest of the franchise and part of the negotiations were public. Although he was not the first European to arrive, he was the first to be so loved by such a successful team.

It does not seem that the Croatian’s responses to this belligerence of the locker room bosses were strong verbally or physically. His game always spoke for him. Imaginative, fluid, personal signature, very his.

I don’t work too much on the gestures facing the stands, the tribunes. Kukoc was what he played.

The end of his career was blurred, passing through 76ers, Bucks and Hawks. Teams where he was much more substitute than in the historic Bulls. A slow and lucid decline.

Does Kukoc deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

Without a doubt, talent, winning ability, technical resources and mental capacity in last possessions to win (whenever they gave him the ball), he was of undeniable basketball greatness. It is superficial to me that he does not enter only from the recognition of his NBA career.

Toni Kukoc dominated club and national team basketball in Europe from a basketball with a showy component. He overcame Dino Radja’s early departure, led teams to win. He adapted to what the Chicago Bulls asked for and was part of a necessary position of the NBA champions for three seasons in a row. A player of the greats.

A nightmare: This is how Jordan and Pippen made life impossible for Kukoc in Barcelona 92. All their defenses on the Croatian (Video)

What would a Toni Kukoc draft report have been like?

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