Looking back nearly 20 years ago, it has been well documented that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen targeted Toni Kukoc when the Dream Team faced Croatia in the 1992 Olympics.
They held Kukoc to only four points.
“You ever watch a lion or a leopard or a cheetah pouncing on their prey?” Karl Malone said in 2012 via GQ’s Oral History of the Dream Team. “We had to get Michael and Scottie out of the locker room because they were damn near pulling straws to see who guarded him. Kukoc had no idea.”
Eventually Kukoc made it to Chicago and helped Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls win three-straight NBA championships.
On Saturday night, Kukoc included in his Hall of Fame speech some sincere gratitude for Jordan and Pippen.
“I would like to thank Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for kicking my butt during the Olympics in Barcelona, and then motivating me to work even harder to become an important part of the Chicago Bulls.”
“I would like to thank this gentleman here… for kicking my butt at the Olympics in Barcelona.”— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 12, 2021
Toni Kukoc shouts out Michael Jordan in his @Hoophall enshrinement speech. #NBAHOF pic.twitter.com/RW4vhjPcMZ
Kukoc also thanked Bulls governor, Jerry Reinsdorf and especially Jerry Krause for “insisting on bringing me to the Bulls and believing in me as a player when it was uncommon for non-American players to play in the NBA.”
He now joins Jordan, Pippen, Krause, Reinsdorf, Phil Jackson, Tex Winter and Dennis Rodman from that second three peat team from the 90’s Bulls dynasty.