By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Three consecutive NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. Numerous medals in international competitions, including the gold in the 1990 World Cup and two EuroBasket tournaments. Widely being regarded as one of the most elite European players of all time and a pioneer of the forward position.
Yet despite all these credentials and then some, Toni Kukoc has yet to be named a Hall of Famer. This year was the third in a row that the Croatian great wasn’t inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after being among the nominees.
“Honestly, it means a lot more to me that I played alongside Michael Jordan and won NBA titles,” Kukoc said in an interview with Croatian website tportal. “I have no influence in my induction into the Hall of Fame. People are asked to decide and I’d really like to know who these people are. It’s allegedly unknown who they are because they haven’t been presented publicly. I really don’t know whether or not I’ll ever enter the Hall of Fame. Would I like it? Of course, I would! Well, another year has passed but nothing happened.”
There are nine European players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Sergei Belov (Russia), Kresimir Cosic (Croatia), Drazen Dalipagic (Bosnia), Drazen Petrovic (Croatia), Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania), Sarunas Marciulonis (Lithuania), Nikos Galis (Greece) Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Dino Radja, Kukoc’s teammate on legendary Jugoplastica and the Croatian national team.
“You know, when it comes to people talking about all the biggest players and when they regularly place me among the best European players with Drazen Petrovic or Arvydas Sabonis, who are in the Hall of Fame, I can’t say I don’t care. But on the other hand, I don’t want to spend energy on that,” Kukoc said.
The former three-time champion with the Chicago Bulls said that he prefers to shift his attention to a passion that shares with former teammate Michael Jordan: Golfing.
“After all, what am I going to say about myself? But if my former coaches, former teammates, and basketball experts say I am one of the top 3-4 European players of all time, what are we talking about? Maybe they all don’t know what they’re talking about? It doesn’t make sense to talk about that any more… You know, I would rather spend that energy playing an 18-hole golf course.”