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Michael Jordan to present Toni Kukoč at Hall of Fame ceremony

Toni Kukoc talks hall of fame

Toni Kukoč (Screenshot/YouTube)

Michael Jordan and former Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf will present Toni Kukoč at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee ceremony.

According to an official press release, former teammate Jordan and Reinsdorf will both honour the Croatian in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 11th.

Members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 were asked to select previous inductees to accompany and present them to their peers. The choice is solely the decision of the incoming Hall of Famers, or their family members if recognized posthumously.

Kukoč will officially join fellow Croatians Dino Rađa (2018), Dražen Petrović (2002), Krešimir Ćosić (1996) and coach Mirko Novosel (2002) in the prestigious hall of fame next month. 

Croatia is now second, behind USA, with the most players in the hall of fame.

“I feel enormously proud and happy. It is a perfect ending to my basketball life as a player. I love the fact this is happening while my parents are still alive, especially my dad, who is absolutely thrilled about this recognition,” said Kukoč, who was in Split when the heard the news back in May. 

The Class of 2021 inductees are ninth-winningest coach in NBA history Rick Adelman, two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, NBA Finals MVP and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, the first Black NBA head coach Bill Russell, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion Ben Wallace, five-time NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Webber, two-time NCAA national champion Villanova coach Jay Wright, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith and seven-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Lauren Jackson.

Kukoč, who has already been inducted into the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame, was one of the first established European stars to play in the NBA, winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1996 and 3 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

He won a number of accolades throughout his impressive career, including being a 3-time Croatian Sportsman of the Year, FIBA World Championship MVP, 4-time Mister Europa Player of the Year and a double Olympic silver medalist.

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