Toni Kukoc is a 3-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls, who is currently serving as a Special Advisor to owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
So, who is Kukoc? Here are some fast facts on the versatile big man who was named among FIBA's 50 greatest players in 1991:
Background & Pre-Bulls basketball career
Kukoc was born in Split, Croatia on September 18th, 1968.
His professional career began at the age of 17 for his home town club, KK Jugoplastika. He continued playing for the team for another six years, till 1991, during which he led the franchise to three EuroLeague Championships (1989-91), four Yugoslav League champion (1988-1991), and two Yugoslav Cup winner (1990, 1991). He also led them to the Triple Crown in 1990 and 1991, both times he was named EuroLeague Final Four MVP.
This early success earned him a selection to the FIBA's 50 greatest players list in 1991 and thrice he was named Croatian Sportsman of the Year (1989-1991) thrice.
In 1991, he began a two-year stint with Benetton Treviso where he won the Italian League championship in 1992 and the Italian Cup in 1993. In 1993, he played his fourth EuroLeague final and lost but was named EuroLeague Final Four MVP for the third time in his career.
Kukoc was drafted by the Bulls in 1990 but he reported to the franchise in 1993. When he joined the team, Michael Jordan was on his first retirement, so it had become slightly easier for Kukoc to blend into the team.
Eventually, given the versatility of his game, he became an integral part of the squad right up until the team completed its second 3-peat in 1998.
As a Bull, he started 217 of 436 regular-season games and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. During the record-setting 72 win 1995-96 season, he was named Sixth Man of the Year. His career averages with the Bulls are 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists.
Post-Bulls & International career
Following the second 3-peat for the franchise in 1998, Kukoc was one of the very few players who remained on the roster for the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. However, after leading the team in points, rebounds, and assists for the lockout season, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000.
A year later, he was shipped to the Atlanta Hawks and a year after that in 2002, he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks, who he represented till the 2006 season.
On September 12 in 2006, he announced his retirement from professional basketball.
In the international circuit, Kukoc has three medals for Croatia - Silver at the 1992 Olympics, Bronze at 1994 FIBA World Cup and 1995 EuroBasket. However, while representing Yugoslavia, he has eight medals, which includes six golds.
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