Toni Kukoč was the star of the evening at the United Center in Chicago last night as the Chicago Bulls took on Utah Jazz.
The Bulls organised a night in honour of the 53-year-old Split-native to mark his recent admission to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, as well as everything he did for the franchise.
From 1993-2000, Kukoč helped the Bulls to three consecutive championship titles (1996-98) and was an important a member of the generation led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Kukoč received the award for the best sixth player in 1996 for his role in winning the title.
With his family next to him, Kukoč gave a speech on court in front of the sold-out United Center. A speech in which he did not hide his emotions.
“The biggest thanks goes to you, the fans. From the first day I came to Chicago, I felt your love and support. Split, Croatia is my hometown, but Chicago is my home and heart. Thank you all for your wonderful years. I would like to thank the Bulls once again for giving me the opportunity more than 30 years ago, thank you to my family for the love and support, teammates and coaches for making me a better player. I learned a lot from you.”
“Split Croatia is my hometown, but Chicago is my heart and my home”— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) October 31, 2021
Congratulations, Toni Kukoč ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cMBsLKIddL
The Bulls also made a documentary about Kukoč’s and his nickname in the NBA – ‘Waiter’ – a nickname he got because he always delivered balls to his teammates in the best position. Also, commemorative T-shirts with his image and signature were made.
The current Bulls team capped off the evening on the court, beating the Jazz 107-99.
Toni Kukoc still has range 👀 pic.twitter.com/f8xBRyi44Z
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 30, 2021