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Toni Kukoc's Induction Speech to FIBA Hall of Fame
One of the most influential players in European, international and NBA basketball, Toni Kukoc is being honored with induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
The 6ft 10in (2.08m) forward left his mark everywhere he played thanks to his exciting style and a leadership quality that resulted in numerous titles at both the club and national team levels.
A native of Split, Croatia, he grew up playing at Jugoplastika where he developed his game into one that would inspire generations of players to come. He was a long and lanky point power forward with exceptional court vision and passing skills. He could also run the floor, finish and shoot well from outside.
He led the Split club to three straight EuroLeague championships from 1989 to 1991. He then went on to win an Italian league title (1992) and an Italian Cup (1993) with Italian giants Benetton Treviso, also reaching the 1993 EuroLeague final.
Later in 1993, Kukoc made his jump to the NBA - having been drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1990. He joined the Bulls after Michael Jordan had just completed Chicago's three-peat of titles and retired. Jordan would come back at the end of Kukoc's second season and the Bulls would claim three more consecutive NBA championships from 1996 to 1998.
Kukoc was one of the few players who built up an extremely successful career in Europe and then matched it - or even exceeded it - in the United States. After Jordan retired and the Bulls entered a rebuilding phase, Kukoc remained in Chicago for another season and a half before spending time with the Philadelphia 76ers (2000-01) and Atlanta Hawks (2001-02) and then four years with the Milwaukee Bucks (2002-06) and then retiring.
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