By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Toni Kukoc didn’t exactly like the prevailing atmosphere of the first two episodes of “The Last Dance” documentary and the way that the late Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was portrayed.
In an interview with NBC, Kukoc, a three-time (1996-1998) champion with the Chicago Bulls, said that he expects the upcoming episodes to focus more on the triumphant side of the “Last Dance” (as Phil Jackson titled the season back then) of 1997-1998:: The fact that the campaign finished the season with the Bulls winning the third consecutive and overall sixth championship.
“I’m hoping the other episodes are brighter and more of a celebration of basketball instead of who is guilty or to blame, and why didn’t they win eight championships or 10. The world was so happy when that was happening. So I don’t know what people are mad at,” Kukoc said.
Kukoc joined the Bulls in 1993 and stayed with the team until 2000. Chicago and then-general manager Krause had selected the Croatian great in the 1990 Draft.
Here’s what Kukoc said on Krause, including the relationship between the latter and Phil Jackson:
“Those three years that he was pursuing me and saying you gotta come, his pitch to me was, ‘You have no idea. We have this incredible coach. We have awesome older players who lead like Pax (John Paxson) and (Bill) Cartwright. We have these amazing athletes like MJ and Scottie who can do anything.’ He had so much joy when he talked about that team. “He told me how crazy good it would be with me flying on the break or leading the break with MJ on one side and Scottie on the other. He was never like, ‘Oh, I built this team and I did this.’ He just talked about what a great organization the Bulls were.”
“People who weren’t there are assuming and saying, ‘Oh, his ego got in the way. That’s why he destroyed the dynasty.’ Not that they don’t appreciate what he did, but you always put him down? Of course, it’s going to affect someone. He’s not here, but I don’t even want to say he can’t defend himself. There’s nothing to defend. He’s the GM of the six-time champs. Name me another five people in the world who did what he did — in any sport.”
“Maybe I was ignorant. Maybe I was caught up in my own stuff. You knew there was stuff going around. But when you practice every day and go home to your family and you own business, you don’t pay attention to that stuff that much. Plus, Phil always made this kind of bubble where players were on their own. “You knew Michael wasn’t going to be there for the other coach. Scottie wasn’t going to be there. That was the end.”
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