Inside Look: Toni Kukoc - Part 1
Mon, 11 Mar 2013|
Part 1 of Luke Stuckmeyer's exclusive one-on-one interview with Toni Kukoc - 3/10
We. On the inside look -- about Cadillac. Of players who became an international powers with the Bulls fan. Number seven. Tony -- I was like you know you. -- to. Right humans. Right by doing team whose time. Coach gave his public relations of these into each year. Play basketball excellent. Represent the country on the ambassador. And as coach said hello to the hole. Game's greatest was saying goodbye. I don't want to say my green cut short. Good -- -- a little bit inside look thome who. Next. Hello and welcome to inside look I'm -- stock -- In his homeland Toni Kukoc was already a star -- 1992. His Croatian team lost to the dream team in the Olympics. And you know the old saying you can't beat them. Join them and that's exactly what Tony did. Joining the Bulls for the second half of their dynasty and solidifying his place as a legend. And a champion. You -- call moment as a kid growing up in racial rethought yourself. Basketball's my future that ever enter your mind. I actually not know. I really can't. I started. Well my first sport was table tennis. I think -- honored guests than the actual team ball. And I was -- implying that as a kid and honestly like every other kid that tried soccer. My that'll as a starter goalie and you can -- playing soccer and was -- it's enough to say better than that. Plays soccer business grew out of the year and come and win. The basketball so when did you first think about the NBA when that creep in your head on my god. Actually at that time and it is for us was was something far away from them. This than the friend. Beginning of the nineties. I actually late eighties it was the first time were able to get the videos. My MBA. Players of the of the bonuses highlights and that's when the I'm really kind of entered into. World if we can say that way. Split Croatia is kind of known for sports and everybody loves sports scene in Croatia right what was it like growing up and it just so honestly. Soccer team this is the number one. So everybody's. Try as the sport first but it. The a lot of other sports there are well represented in and split. People encourages say did that some number one Caroline was city and and Croatian maybe maybe of more -- that we had. 44 at city of 950000000. People. And four or five NBA players. Obviously -- and issues tennis players and well known. A lot of water polo players -- players soccer players. -- -- -- -- So when you think back to those days I'm thinking of 88 he won a silver medal. With Yugoslavian national team 91 world championship. Yugoslavian national team. What would those days like how much fun was that being a part of a team that was that was accepts that successful. That was actually the most fun I think guys I -- playing playing basketball because we're still. On them a the kids. 1819 year olds coming kids' age. You know. Think about anything you don't worry about that -- just -- basketball and would spend so much time together we were getting ready for the Olympics for world championships. The most about 45 months. Together so. We really knew each other very well lottery draws and you -- -- some unable unbelievable players on the team. If everything had stayed the same and there wasn't Warren -- have cadet team has been able to hang with the dream team. -- on a given night. I honestly don't think there was a team that that could. He would dream team. Today they just had so much talent so much knowledge basketball knowledge and then and all that that it would be hard but it. -- lead that team would make that game interest thing. But now when it. Well does this say that in any given night the the United States V Russia in hockey one -- of the war another hundred times that. There wasn't maybe problem. 5% chance let's say how did you keep your focus once war started breaking out your country and it and an ugly war dead. That those throw the hardest time. Because you -- you can. It is your mind always goes back to your family. If there okay what's going -- and they're gonna live the next day of so that it -- was hard but it. I tried. I tried to two you go to the very practice go to every game -- -- in my mind. Kind of floating in between be concentrated to play the games and them. Just trying to figure out what's going on back home was it tough for you to just live your life. While that was going on does that make sense that was a tough you do to continue on doing what you were doing while others were were fighting. Blum. To blend yes in the way. Yes in the way but in it in in the same time I knew that. You you know this way of playing basketball actually. Represented the country un ambassador -- -- of Croatia is the country and and that way trying to. Two talk about it say is -- -- put the word of Croatian people. When you think back to. Winning a big game with the Croatian national team and then. The night that draws and was taken away how do you remember that. Whole time period for you. We did them that's probably one of the said this moment and and in the hole. Then -- hold the generation because we've. We all felt like like a brother is like of like a really close. To get them and I remember I was actually here I just signed with the vols are ahead of physicals and and and Chicago when that happened. He was playing in -- and Poland. The qualifier for the European Championship and not. Always the only one missing and and never thought benefit all of and I saw his picture on TV and then turn the volume on. Trying to figure out whether with a talking about it. And it was as devastating -- It went from Toni Kukoc draws and Patrick rich bloody. To what you thought might be Scottie Pippen Michael Jordan Toni Kukoc. To get here and MJ retires what's that like. There actually was it was really sad cause that they and landed in Chicago. Sort of lose that Michaels there was mostly. And that Wednesday. -- excellence of the tragic news about them. About his dad so basically he retired two days after I go to Chicago and those come. I don't wanna say my dream cut short. But it but it it derailed a little bit from from the original plan that I. After old success that I had that in Europe or can come here. Play with a team that did three years in a row world war on the -- world champion and then championship I actually have a chance to play -- all these guys. Would she I did indeed he did in no way in my helped me a little bit because I did right away I get. Minutes to two to play. Without injured Serena being with a team I got used to playing with Scotty. Learn a lot of things from from -- that year. So when I'm bloom Michael go back I think you. At that point I was already kind of used to NBA game I learned in that year and a half. And I guess -- it was easier for me to a good used to him being. In the team then then as if it happened. Right away how long did it take to get used to Michael Jordan in what he demanded from teammates. Oh well I I was in no way I had said no not -- out of them that big of a scaled but I had that in in Croatia in. What would -- feedback back home. That's the way coaches demand that's how we tried to practice. Every day is that the even -- Troy had. Success with the would -- -- classic over my my first the winning. Championship the world should. European Championship three years in a row winning the Yugoslavian national championship four years ago. Flow but but if you go totally to the next level. When when Michael back of the -- had news Scotty did a very good job when when he was. Alone wanted to try to bring your team to that level but obviously -- when Michael got back. Michael and -- has brought everybody. Totally threw to dwell on the level.