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YouTube Gold: Toni Kukoc

One of the first great Euro imports, Kukoc was overshadowed by teammates Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but he was in some ways just as significant.

Toni Kukoc #7
Toni Kukoc as a Chicago Bull

Toni Kukoc had a rude introduction to the NBA, which actually took place against the Dream Team in 1992.

Jerry Krause’s legendarily abrasive relationship with his Chicago Bulls stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen took a turn when he began to brag about his future Bull Kukoc, something both stars took great offense to.

So in the Olympics they went out of their way to destroy Kukoc when the US played Croatia and basically tag-teamed him, dogging him relentlessly the whole game.

Kukoc came to the Bulls, showing up after Jordan’s first retirement and then becoming a key piece of the team’s second three-peat. His talent forced Jordan and Pippen to respect him.

At 6-11, he was one of the early big guys who could play the entire game. He was an outstanding scorer but also a brilliant passer, ballhandler and shooter.

He isn’t yet in the Hall of Fame but he really should be. Obviously he was tremendously skilled but he was also an early indicator of how Europeans would totally change the NBA.