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.
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.
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 legend of Yugoslav basketball 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?
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 the scandalous characters of some players.
Living by the principle: "Who is stronger, that's right" - and Michael Jordan, and Scotty Pippen did not differ complaisance. Everyone wanted the championship and the conclusion of a contract on more favorable terms. Learning that the contract of the young Croatian basketball player is much more expensive, the players of the "Chicago Bulls" were outraged to the core.
Since the selection of Tony on the draft in the 90th and up toThe final move to Chicago was 3 years. The manager of Americans more than once personally flew to Croatia to convince the athlete to sign the contract. Doubts were justified: at home Kukoch was already a legend, and moving to the overseas tougher league looked like an adventure.
In addition, the star players of the Chicago teamnot at all with open arms embraced young "European upstarts." But Kukoch could change their opinion of basketball. Tony moved to the Chicago camp in 1993.
Michael Jordan was one of the idols of a young Yugoslav athlete. And in many ways it was the prospect of playing in the same team with the legend, convinced him to make the move.
But leaving Jordan - it 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 form of the Croat can be considered the first three years of stay 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, persecuting the basketball player during the first season, and anxiety for the family that remained in the territory of Yugoslavia - all this annoyed, but did not break the athlete's will to win.
Unpleasant attitude of American players toTony Kukochu was caused, above all, by differences in mentality. In the best world league for the championship had to be fought. For players from Chicago, the place in the basic composition was the meaning of life, and they were preparing to defend it by any means. Many hours of training took away all the forces and did not leave space for simple human feelings.
Kukocha never had the required aggression.Accidentally getting to the presidential palace on an excursion, Tony even wanted to leave a note asking for help to the children of Yugoslavia. The war, continuing in his homeland, strongly worried the athlete. All his fees Kukoch spent on his son and how he could help relatives who stayed in Yugoslavia.
Coaching did not interest the basketball player, but after the end of his sports career, Tony Kukoch worked as an adviser to the president of the beloved club and seriously engaged in playing golf.