InterBasket > profiles > Kukoc
  InterBasket > Player Profiles > Toni Kukoc, Croatia From A native of Split, Croatia, Kukoc came to the NBA after an outstanding career in Europe. A three-time European Player of the Year, he led Jugoplastika Split to a European Championship in 1990. He spent the 1991-92 and 1992-93 campaigns with Benetton Treviso of the Italian League, averaging 19.9 points over the two seasons. He was also a member of the Yugoslavian Olympic team that won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics, and he earned a second silver medal with the Croatian team in 1992. A member of three European championship teams and a three-time European Player of the Year, Kukoc had teamed with Dino Radja and the late Drazen Petrovic to lead Yugoslavia to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. The group came together again in 1992 as Croatia and earned another Olympic silver in Barcelona. Part of the difficulty in getting Kukoc to play in the NBA was that the NBA's salary cap restricted teams from free spending, while the Italian League had no such constraints. Kukoc's team, Benetton Treviso, could give the Croatian star anything he wanted-and did-during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. But by the summer of 1993 Kukoc was able to get out of his five-year contract with Benetton and try to make a name for himself in the NBA. After a three-year wait the Bulls signed him to a contract on July 19, 1993.

IBN Facts
: Was named Sixth Man of the Year after the Chicago Bull's 72-10 season in 1995-96.  Played in the inaugural NBA Rookie All-Star Game in 1994.  Named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1993-94.  Is a three-time NBA Champion, all with the Michael-Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.  Recorded his second career triple-double on 3/26/00 at Indiana with 19 pts, 10 rebs, and 10 asts.
Toni Kukoč Profile

Name: Toni Kukoc
Position: Forward
Nickname: Pink Panther, White Magic, Alien, The Spider of Split, The Waiter, Kuki
Born: 09/18/1968
Status: Retired
Origin: Croatia
Height: 6'11/2,11m
Weight: 235lbs/106,6kg
Schools: N/A
Drafted: 1990, Second Round, 29th pick by the Chicago Bulls
Languages: Croatian, English
Website: InterBasket, Ultimate Toni Kukoc Fan Site
Teams (jersey): Yugoslavian National Team, Croatian National Team, Jugoplastika Split (Croatia), Benetton Treviso (Italy), Chicago Bulls (7), Atlanta Hawks (7), Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks (7), IBN Dream Team (First Team)
Ibn Notes: One of the best players to ever play the European game, "The Spider of Split" never translated the statistical success of his Euro career over to the NBA. Though he was the third-leading scorer, behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and won three NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, Kukoc is looked at as a disappointing player because of the hype surrounding him before his arrival.

No matter, when Toni Kukoc's so-called "disappointing" three-championship NBA career comes to an end, he'll always be considered one of Europe's best players and a integral part of three NBA Championship teams.  That's a lot more than most can say...

From "In 1989, the Yugoslavs assembled all of their “golden generation” in what would turn into a 3-year dominance of world basketball (European titles in 1989 and 1990 and a World Championship in 1991).

Coached by Dusan Ivkovic and led on the court by Drazen Petrovic, Yugoslavia also counted on Predrag Danilovic, Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, Stojan Vrankovic, Zoran Radovic, Juri Zdovc, Zarko Paspalj, Z Cutura and M Primorac in what was an embarrassment of basketball riches.

The championship was reduced from 12 to 8 teams, but as Drazen Petrovic predicted before the championship, the only team that could beat Yugoslavia was themselves.

Yugoslavia had little trouble progressing to the semi-final stage and in fact the interesting action came from the other group. Champions Greece were under pressure to show that they could perform outside their home country and they did so in style in the semi-finals. As in 1987, the Soviet Union stood in their way and once again, they beat them by 1 point, 81-80.

There was really only one way the final could go and that was victory for Yugoslavia. The home side had little trouble beating Greece and the 98-76 scoreline reflected their dominance. Petrovic finished the game with 28 points and was also elected tournament MVP."

Toni Kukoc Links  From our forum:  Toni Kukoc Pictures  Where Will Kukoc Go?  Croatia Basketball Forum   Article(s):  In the Face of Adversity ( 1997), A New Generation of Stars: History of Eurobasket (, Silver Lining ( 1996)  Toni Kukoc Interview (Chicago-Sun-Times 1999)  "I Worry About the Future of the World" (ESPN 2001)