Toni Kukoč is a retired basketball player from Croatia. Toni Kukoč presently serves as a special advisor to Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls (NBA). In Europe, he had a very successful basketball career.
Kukoc went on to play in the NBA. He was one of the first well-known European athletes to join the NBA.
Childhood and Family
Toni Kukoč was born in Split, Croatia, on September 18, 1968, in a lovely corporate town on the Adriatic Sea.
Ante Kuko and Radojka Kuko were his parents when he was born.
Ante, his father, worked in a shipyard that employed over half of the city’s workforce.
He was also a sportsman, participating in water polo and handball.
Rajojka, his mother, worked as a secretary.
Facts of Toni Kukoč
|Full name||Toni Kukoč|
|Nicknames||The White Magic, the Spider from Split, the Pink Panther, the Waiter, and the Croatian Sensation.|
|Birthdate||September 18, 1968|
|Nationality||Croatian / American|
|Father’s name||Ante Kukoč|
|Mother’s name||Radojka Kukoč|
|Age||53 Years Old|
|Height||6 feet 10 inches (208 cm)|
|Listed Weight||192 lbs. (87 kg)|
|Eye color||Dark Brown|
|Children||A son and a daughter|
|Children’s Name||Marin Kukoč
|Current Profession||Special advisor to Chicago Bulls’ owner|
|Former Profession||Basketball Player|
|Affiliation||European Basketball LeagueNational Basketball Association (NBA)|
|NBA draft||1990 / Round: 2 / Pick: 29th overall|
|Drafted by||Chicago Bulls|
|Other NBA Teams||Philadelphia 76ersAtlanta Hawks
|NBA debut||November 5, 1993 (With the Chicago Bulls)|
|Teams Outside NBA||KK Jugoplastika (Croatian League)Benetton Treviso (Italian youth basketball club)|
|Filmography||Once Brothers in 2010250 Steps in 2017
The Last Dance in 2020
|Awards and Honors||FIBA EuroBasket MVP in 1991FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players: (1991)
Franjo Bučar State Award for Sport in 1992
NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1994
NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1996
50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors in 2008, etc.
|Hall of Fame||FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017|
|Net worth||Around $30 million|
|Social Media Handles||Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
|Merch||Jersey, NFL Basketball Cards|
|Last Update||April 2022|
Toni Kukoč’s net worth is thought to be in the $30 million range.
Kuko has amassed a sizable fortune from his basketball career. His employment as an advisor with the Chicago Bulls continues to pay well. For him, the shift from Croatia to the United States proved to be extremely profitable.
Tony Kukoc’s adaptability astounds people. When he was little, he used to play soccer.
His hand-eye coordination was commendable, and his teammates were impressed as well. Toni was a ping pong/table tennis champion. In table tennis, he also won various youth category titles.
After retiring from the NBA, he grew interested in golf and became a scratch golfer. Toni was unable to play after undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2009.
He currently plays a round of golf at least once a day. In 2011, he also won the Croatian national amateur golf tournament.
Kukoc is a basketball all-rounder with a wide range of skills. He played all five positions on the court, although his natural position was small forward.
He not only played it well, but he also displayed excellent court vision and an outside shooting touch uncommon in players of his stature. Toni is 6 feet 10 inches tall (208 cm).
How did he start basketball?
Toni had never played basketball in his life till he was 13-14 years old. When he was about 14, he went to the beach with his friends, and a basketball coach noticed him.
Toni’s long legs drew the coach’s attention, and he asked if he was interested. Toni was adaptable and could rapidly adjust to any sport. As a result, he agreed to collaborate. Since then, there has been no turning back.
After playing in the NBA and working as an advisor to a top-rated NBA team, basketball became his home.
Toni then became a member of the municipal team. They had to rehearse extensively and were not permitted to play until they had done so.
Toni enjoyed the atmosphere created by basketball. At the age of 15, he stopped attending to school and instead attended morning, evening, and afternoon practices.
It was something along the lines of, “Yes, I attend school, but only on occasion.” Teachers at school were also interested in games, and during Toni’s ‘once in a while school visit,’ they would inquire about who they would play with next.
In the verge of being expelled
Toni’s mother received a letter from the school informing her that her son had been expelled for missing 200 days.
His mother was taken aback and enraged. She then went to the club and told them Toni was on the verge of retiring due to an injury. The club needed to work out an agreement with the school.
Toni was lucky in that he was the team’s general manager and that his school’s deans were relatives. Toni agreed to practice while also reading and attending tests at the end of the year.
Toni only received a 48 in Chemistry in finals, despite the fact that 50 was the passing grade. Toni would have to repeat the lesson in the summer, according to the teacher.
Toni, on the other hand, stated that he was going with the national team and would never return.
While playing in Croatia, he says he was always thinking about the NBA.
At the age of 17, Toni Kukoč began playing basketball for his hometown team, KK Jugoplastika. He was one of the best players to ever play for the club, and he had a lot of success.
Toni was a key member of the team that won the renowned EuroLeague for three straight seasons (1989–1991).
In 1990 and 1991, they also won the Triple Crown. Toni has also been voted the EuroLeague Final Four Most Valuable Player (MVP) on two occasions.
He later moved on to Benetton Treviso from KK Jugoplastika. In 1992, he was named the winner of the Italian League championship. In 1993, he also won the Italian Cup.
Toni was also a member of the 1993 EuroLeague final team. He also earned the EuroLeague Final Four MVP award for the second time.
Toni was dubbed the White Magic, the Spider from Split, the Pink Panther, the Waiter, and the Croatian Sensation by various people.
Throughout the 1990s, he was named European Basketball Player of the Year on multiple occasions.
Bulls of Chicago
Toni was selected 29th overall in Round 2 of the 1990 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.
He did, however, keep his games going in Europe for almost three years. In 1993, he eventually reported to the Chicago Bulls.
By that time, the team had recently completed its first three-peat and had lost Michael Jordan to retirement. Toni was devastated that he wouldn’t be able to play with Jordan.
After that, on November 5, 1993, he made his NBA debut.
He started behind small forward Scottie Pippen and power forward Horace Grant in the 1993–1994 season. He can, however, play both shooting guard and center.
He had a promising rookie season, averaging double figures in points and scoring while being named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Toni was then promoted to the starting lineup, where he remained for the 1994–1995 seasons.
In terms of scoring, rebounds, and assists, he was second on the Chicago Bulls. Scottie Pippen was in his shadow.
For the 1995–1996 seasons, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls.
Toni was overjoyed to learn the good news. This desire to play alongside Jordan would be realized.
The entire members of the Chicago Bulls were motivated and excited by Jordan’s return to full form and also the offseason acquisition of exceptional rebounder Dennis Rodman.
Scottie Pippen was still at small forward. Similarly, coach Phil Jackson decided to let Tony continue to be a bench player.
Tony stood up third on the team in scoring in the 1995-1996 seasons.
He was behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
He earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award as his efforts were acknowledged.
Toni then contributed to leading the Chicago Bulls to a 25-game turnaround.
They set the best record in league history at the time at 72–10. It was later surpassed by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors.
The Chicago Bulls also won the fourth championship in team history.
Toni was the fourth and is currently the last player to have received the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and the same year’s NBA title.
McHale, Bill Walton, and Bobby Jones had achieved that feat earlier.
Toni again came off the bench as the sixth man as the Chicago Bulls won their fifth and sixth NBA titles in 1997 and 1998. He became the team’s third-leading scorer.
Career ending and retirement
Scottie Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets in early 1999.
The deal literally broke up the Chicago Bulls dynasty.
Kukoč was one of the only players from their championship team left at the Chicago Bulls.
He led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists in the lockout-shortened 1998–1999 seasons.
Kukoč was then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1999–2000 seasons as Chicago Bulls continued their rebuilding scheme.
It was a three-team deal involving the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors sent Bruce Bowen, John Starks, and a 2000 first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls.
Kukoc was dealt with the Atlanta Hawks the following season. Nazr Mohammed, Pepe Sánchez, and Theo Ratliff were also dealt with along with him.
It was in a blockbuster transaction when they shipped Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod to the 76ers.
Kukoč was again moved to the Milwaukee Bucks following a brief spell with the Atlanta Hawks.
He was along with Leon Smith, in a deal to acquire Glenn Robinson.
The continual dealing and transfer might have irritated Kuko.
He said that if neither the Milwaukee Bucks nor the Chicago Bulls did not sign him for the 2006–07 NBA season, he would retire from professional basketball.
On September 12, 2006, the announcement was made.
Tony Kukoc was courted by a number of NBA teams, but he always opted to relocate.
In the city of Highland Park, Illinois, he lived near his home at the time.
Toni was a member of the young Yugoslavian national team that won the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in 1987.
He won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award (MVP).
He was also a member of Yugoslavia’s senior men’s national team.
At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, the team won a silver medal.
In 1990, he was again voted MVP of the FIBA World Championship. Toni won a gold medal in the same competition.
In addition, he won gold medals with Yugoslavia in the EuroBasket 1989 and EuroBasket 1991.
He was also named MVP of the EuroBasket competition in 1991.
Toni Kukoč represented Croatia at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, winning a silver medal.
In 1994, he won a bronze medal in the FIBA World Championships in Canada.
At the 1995 EuroBasket in Greece, he won a bronze medal for the second time.
Renata Kuko and Toni Kuko are married. After moving to Chicago in 1993, the couple purchased their Highland Park house.
Marin Kuko, a son, and Stela Kuko, a daughter, were the couple’s children.
Marin Kuko was a varsity basketball player for Highland Park High School. He was then accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, where he continued his basketball career.
Stela Kuko, Toni’s daughter, is a college volleyball player at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.