Toni Kukoc: "Thanks to Jordan and Pippen for kicking my ass"

Toni Kukoc is already a Hall of Fame. The Croatian, one of the greatest players in European basketball history, saw his career honored with his induction into the revered Hall of Fame, next to some of the biggest names in the NBA. He entered alongside Chris Webber, Chris Bosh, Ben Wallace and Paul Pierce. But his inclusion was even more emotional, since next to him was Michael Jordan, his teammate in the Bulls of the 90s and next to whom he conquered three of the six rings that His Airness won during his enormous career.

The Croatian said, in front of the former guard and Jerry Reinsford, owner of the Bulls (Kukoc is currently an advisor to the franchise), a phrase that made most of the audience laugh. “Thanks to Jordan and Pippen for kicking my ass“With this, Kukoc refers to the final of the Barcelona Olympic Games, which the famous Dream Team won unopposed, leaving the star without one of the few successes that have escaped him: Olympic gold. He got silver that year, the same metal he had to settle for four years earlier, in Seoul, when he was playing for Yugoslavia.

Kukoc had to earn Jordan’s respect through work and effort. He landed in the NBA with a resume full of triumphs, but that was not worth the escort, who always demanded the same from his companions as he did from himself. On The last dance, it was related how the Croatian ended up gaining the respect of what is for many the best player in the history of the NBA. Also Pippen’s, who got mad at Phil Jackson when he selected Kukoc for the last pitch and not himBack in 1994, in the conference semifinals and against the Knicks. In the end, three rings and an indelible legacy were the results.

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The Croatian player has an impressive resume: three consecutive European Cups (with the Jugoplastika Split) and then three rings in a row, thus being the biggest winner on both sides of the Atlantic. He was MVP of the 1990 World Cup, in which he won gold, and won the award for Best Sixth Man in the NBA in 1996. Sheets and sheets full of hits culminating in Hall of Fame induction. And with Jordan, of course, by his side. That man who kicked the world. It could not be otherwise.

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