Tony Kukoch: basketball player and personality
Famous basketball player Tony Kukoch refers to thecategories of people for whom sport has become a part of life. Despite the fact that he himself often said that he would prefer a basketball career to the work of a teacher or educator, the desire for active activity for many years determined his fate.
Birth of a star
In a small Yugoslav town calledSplit September 18, 1968 was born Tony Kukoch. The biography of the future European basketball star began with achievements in table tennis. As early as 13 years young Tony won the championship of Yugoslavia for this sport and it seemed that the further way was determined. But this is his tennis career ended. In some interviews, Kukoch jokes that too much growth has prevented reaching heights in this sport. In the future it was basketball that took first place in the life of the young man.
Career in Yugoslavia
The Yugoslav team of Yugoplastikathe place where Kukoch first appeared. Tony began to play for the youth team and in the first season became the national champion among the youth teams. The following year, the athlete confirmed his class, playing for the adult team. And again I got the championship. Then there were European competitions among juniors and cadets. Young talented basketball player not only won the title of European champion, but in 1986 became the best player of the tournament. The national team of Yugoslavia of the 90s had no equal in the territory of the Old World. It was in this "star" team that the experience was gained and the throws of the future Yugoslav basketball legend were honed.
It is impossible to predict how the career would have developedbasketball player, if civil war did not start in Yugoslavia. After the collapse of the country in which Tony Kukoch was born, he became a player of the Croatian national team. Political cataclysms in no way hampered the professional growth of the athlete, and in 1992, the Olympic "silver" of the Croatian team was a reward for numerous training sessions. The Spanish Olympics showed that only the American team was stronger than this team, for which legends of world basketball played in those years. At the same time, there was a first meeting with Michael Jordan and Johnson Magic, who was beaten by Tony Kukoch in the resultant shows. The basketball player was constantly involved in the national team of Croatia, playing for Spanish and Italian clubs.
The career of the young ambitious guy continuedto develop rapidly. At 23, Tony Kukoch entered the rating of the great players, which was FIBA. The fifth position is a good result for a beginner basketball player. European trophies one after another settled in the piggy bank of the athlete, and it's time to think about, and then what?
Moving to Chicago
What kind of basketball player did not dream of playing in a teamChicago bulls? Managers gathered in the club the most stellar line-up, which won the NBA championship three times. But to get an invitation from Chicago, you had to really try. The American team of the 90s was famous not only for its composition, but also for scandalous characters of some players.
Living by the principle: “Who is stronger, he is right” - both Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen were not distinguished by appeasability. Everyone wanted a championship and a contract on more favorable terms. Having learned that the contract of a young Croatian basketball player is much more expensive, the players of “Chicago Bulls” were outraged to the depths of the soul.
From the moment Tony chose the draft in the 90s toThe final move to Chicago took 3 years. The manager of the Americans flew to Croatia more than once to convince the athlete to sign the contract. Doubts were justified: in their homeland, Kukoc was already a legend, and moving to a more rigid overseas league looked like a gamble.
In addition, the star players of the Chicago teamnot with open arms met young "European upstarts". But Kukoch could change their opinion about basketball. Tony moved to the Chicagoans in 1993.
Overseas career Kukocha
Michael Jordan was one of the idols of a young Yugoslav athlete. And in many respects it was the prospect of playing in the same team with the legend that convinced him to make the move.
But Jordan’s departure was not at all whatcounted Tony Kukoch. Achievements in the North American team were much more modest than in the European League. The peak of the Croat form can be considered the first three years of being in the team. It was then that the Chicagoans won the championship twice in a row.
The first season was a real test for Kukoch: ignorance of the language, minor injuries pursuing a basketball player during the first season, as well as concern for the family that remained in Yugoslavia, all this annoyed, but did not break the athlete's will to win.
Hostile attitude of the American players toTony Kukochu was caused primarily by differences in mentality. In the best world league for the championship had to fight. For players from Chicago, the place in the first team was the meaning of life, and they were preparing to defend it by any means. Hours of training took away all the power and did not leave space for simple human feelings.
Kukoch never had the required aggression. Having accidentally got into the presidential palace for a tour, Tony even wanted to leave a note asking for help to the children of Yugoslavia. The war, continuing in his homeland, greatly disturbed the athlete. Kukoch spent all his fees on his son and how he could help relatives who stayed in Yugoslavia.
The coaching job did not interest the basketball player, but after completing his sports career, Tony Kukoch worked as an adviser to the president of his favorite club and seriously started playing golf.
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