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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 at 10:30 am  |  18 responses

For Old Time’s Sake: Toni Kukoc

Straight outta Split

Toni Kukoc was one of the most important, yet often overlooked, pieces to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty in the late 90s. It may be a stretch to call him Dirk before Dirk but he had one of the sweetest strokes in the game, came over from Europe, stood at 6’11″, and could play all 5 positions. Kukoc was also a fantastic passer and shot a very solid 44.7% from the field for his career. Kukoc was a 9x European Player of the Year, NBA 6th Man of the Year in ’96, and a 3x NBA Champion.

@Schneezy

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  • oldskoolflava

    Saw him play in Europe before he went to the Bulls

    Great player!

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Kinda reminds me of a less athletic Tay Prince.

  • http://www.facebook.com The Philosopher

    Detlef Shrempf Jr.
    Hedo Turgoglu Sr.
    Shout out to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’s ring entry music.

  • Overtime

    Had no idea he was 6”11

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ 1982

    @Max Prince’s career was built on great D, and Toni was a Euro Finesse player.

    That first shot was the shot Pippen stayed in the huddle for right? He never seemed dependable enough as first option – kinda streaky. Still, I loved him on those Bulls.

  • thyr

    someone call Sade, the real smooth operator is in the house

  • MikeC.

    Toni was the perfect 6th man for his entire career. He wasn’t quite good enough to play one position full-time as a starter, but much like Uncle Cliff Robinson, he was good enough to play every position off the bench. Kukoc was The Waiter, delivering tasty dishes.

  • hambone

    woulda never got by the pacers without him

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Loved that dude’s game.
    One of the best passes ever over 6’10″?

  • HAMMER

    Ahhh. The infamous 1.8. Incredible shot tho. Kukoc, 2 me, had a similar game 2 Pip. Overall fluidity and smoothness. Just lacked Pip’s aggressive D. Besides that, Kukoc could do almost everything Pip did. And even tho he was MJ’s, Pip’s and coach Jackson’s whipping boy, he was a key piece 2 that 2nd Bulls 3-peat.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    PJax’s face after Kukoc’s gamewinner is awesome.

  • http://www.Slamonline.com Slick Ric

    man the bulls used to have the coolest intro in the league, and toni was the man, he was almost like lamar odom with a better jumpshot

  • L

    Toni was a genius in europe then he came to the us and got bigger.He lost some of his quickness and overall talent but was still a very capable player and a key to the bulls success..L

  • HAMMER

    That Bulls/Lakers game when Toni scored 31 pts was dope. Probably my fav regular season game ever that I’ve seen. Bulls were down all game by double digits and came back 2 win in OT. I’ve only seen it that 1 time. Haven’t seen it since. A classic n my opinion.

  • Donna Hoppock

    My absolute favorite NBA player of all time. Had the opportunity to see him play (in person) 4 times and it was a thrill. He had style, class and not only could he shoot the ball but he could throw it as well. I miss him.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    He really was Dirk before there was Dirk.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    I agree with Hammer, actually – Toni was almost exactly like Pippen on the offensive end. I think the Bulls management dreamed of Pippen becoming MJ and Kukoc becoming Pippen after the 1st Retirement. Fate (and, I think, Phil) had other ideas, though.

  • PlanetAsia14

    I agree with The Promise: Definitely the first Dirk, but by far better handles and athleticism.

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