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Toni Kukoc stats & induction to the Hall-of-Fame

Toni Kukoc will be inducted into the basketball hall-of-fame but not for his NBA career.

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Home » blog » basketball » NBA » Toni Kukoc stats & induction to the Hall-of-Fame

Step onto the court of European greatness as we celebrate the illustrious career of Toni Kukoc, the latest luminary to grace the Naismith Hall of Fame’s halls.

With career averages of 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, Kukoc’s NBA statistics speak volumes, but they tell only part of his rich basketball story.

From his pivotal role playing on the Chicago Bulls’ legendary dynasty to his groundbreaking impact on international basketball, Kukoc’s legacy extends far beyond the numbers. Embark with us on this journey through the life and career of a player who not only excelled in the game but reshaped it on a global scale.”

Toni Kukoc: Hall-of-Fame

Toni Kukoc hall-of-fame, joins Michael Jordan but not for his work with the Chicago Bulls

This past weekend, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan were enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame. These NBA legends were part of the 2020 class. Toni Kukoc will be inducted into the class of 2021.

The class of 2021 also includes basketball legends in Paul Pierce, Chris Webber, Chris Bosh, Ben Wallace, Yolanda Griffith and Villanova coach Jay Wright.

Social Distancing

Some NBA fans think Michael Jordan has just had another Bulls player placed into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall-of-Fame.

This is mostly an attempt to discredit Michael Jordan’s greatness. Michael Jordan is responsible for the Bulls six championships because of who he is and what he did.

Toni Kukoc isn’t going into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame for anything ] he accomplished during his NBA career. The Hall-of-Fame’s international committee will enshrine Toni as part of the Naismith class of 2021.

This enshrinement only covers his European basketball career and international play like the Olympics. It has absolutely nothing to do with his time spent in the NBA.

Toni Kukoc stats

At a glance, Toni Kukoc’s stats in the NBA aren’t terrible, but they’re far from hall-of-fame statistics. Toni wouldn’t even be a nominated for an NBA Hall-of-Fame, if such a place existed.

Toni Kukoc stats weren't good enough with the Philadelphia 76ers

He averaged 11.6 points-per-game, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists with a steal for his career. He never averaged 20 points-per-game or made an NBA all-star team.

The 1996 NBA sixth man-of-the-year award winner was a lousy defender too. He was a jump shooter who couldn’t really take opponents off the dribble with any consistency.

Toni had his best seasons playing under Phil Jackson and playing with the championship teams led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Just a shooter

Kukoc won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 1996 and that was the ceiling for “The Spider of Split” in the NBA as far as individual accomplishments went.

For a player that ended being known as just a shooter, nothing more, even his shooting percentages weren’t very good.

For his career he shot 44.7% from the field and 33.5% from three point range.

Those career numbers are below average. It’s not what you want from a player who isn’t giving you much else besides scoring.

Coming to America?

Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and the teams GM Jerry Krause selected Toni Kukoc with the 29th pick in the 2nd round of the 1990 NBA Draft. This occurred a few months after The League of Communists of Yugoslavia dissolved along federal lines in January of 1990.

Reinsdorf and Krause would take trips to visit Toni in Europe, trying to recruit him to the Chicago Bulls. Very similar to a college program recruiting high school talent.

The Bulls management team would watch Kukoc play in Europe when they visited and waited impatiently for the Split, Croatia native to come to America. Chicago, Illinois to be more specific.

They would say things like “how great it would be for him to play with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen” or talk about the success other ex-Yugoslavian basketball players like Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic were having in the NBA.

Kukoc finally joined the Chicago Bulls in 1993, three years after the team drafted him. His first NBA season was in 1993-94.

Hall-of-Fame Resume

Toni Kukoc stats were legendary in Europe.
  • won three consecutive EuroLeague championships (1989-91) with KK Jugoplastika.
  • KK Jugoplastika were four-time Yugoslav League champions from 1988-91.
  • three-time EuroLeague Final Four MVP
  • 1991 EuroLeague MVP
  • led KK Jugoplastika to the Triple Crown in 1990 & 1991.
  • joined Benetton Treviso of the Italian League in 1992
  • Benetton Treviso won the Italian League championship in 1992
  • won the Italian Cup in 1993.
  • named EuroLeague Final Four MVP once again.
  • led the 1990 EuroLeague Finals in scoring
  • five-time Euroscar player-of-the-year
  • four-time Mister Europa
  • named to the FIBA top 50 greatest players list and the greatest EuroLeague contributors list of all-time greats.

 

International Play

Toni Kukoc stats for Yugoslavia in the 1992 Olympic Games vs the USA, weren't where he wanted them

Yugoslavia

Kukoc is going to the hall-of-fame mostly because of his career in the EuroLeague.

His international career as a National Team member for Yugoslavia and then Croatia was a factor too. He led Yugoslavia to the under-19 junior World Cup in 1987 and was that tournament’s MVP award.

A member of the 1988 Yugoslavian silver medal winning Olympic team, “The Croatian Sensation” was also named MVP of the FIBA World Championships in 1990 and won Gold at the 1989 & 1991 EuroBasket tournament, winning MVP of this tournament in 1991.

Croatia

Kukoc played a pivotal role as a member of the Croatian National team at the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Where he once again helped his country’s win a silver medal in those Olympic Games. They fell to the Dream Team in the Gold Medal Game.

International Committee

Four different committee’s make up different aspects of voting for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame.

The North American Committee covers the NCAA and NBA, there’s a women’s committee, a veterans committee and an international committee.

The North American committee basically covers basketball in North America, while the international committee covers the rest of the world. Toni Kukoc is being inducted in the class of 2021 by ONLY the International committee.

He’d have been presented by the North American committee, if he was being recognized for what he had accomplished in the NBA.

FIBA HOF

In 2017, Toni was inducted into the FIBA Hall-of-Fame. He recently opened up to Bulls sports columnist K.C Johnson about being named to the Naismith class-of-2021. Calling the honor in a zoom interview “Destiny”, and stating “Maybe it was in the script”.

Before he came to the United States, Kukoc’s playmaking ability was most often compared to Magic Johnson’s running of the Showtime Lakers in the 80’s & early 90’s.

Toni’s passes in the EuroLeague earned him the nickname “The Waiter”.

This court vision must have been lost in translation when he came to America.

Tony Kukoc’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame has nothing to do with his NBA career. The international committee voted him in, not the NBA contingent.

When people say the Chicago Bulls had four hall-of-famers on their championship teams, this is true but not accurate. Many LeBron James lovers who have hatred towards Michael Jordan will use this to distort fans who don’t know any better.

The only player that was an NBA All-Star as a teammate of Michael Jordan’s with the Chicago Bulls (1984-98) was Scottie Pippen. Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, and Toni Kukoc were never NBA all-stars playing with the Chicago Bulls.

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I provide highly opinionated sports articles. Most of these are featured articles. They will likely differ from the thoughts, stories and ideas, recycled by TV, radio, etc.

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