“On Our Wedding Night..”: Toni Kukoc’s Wife Reveals Ultimate Sacrifice he Made For Michael Jordan

Published 10/31/2021, 1:00 PM EDT
AUCHTERARDER, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Ex-NBA star Michael Jordan watches the action during the Morning Fourballs of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 26, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)


Toni Kukoc is not given enough credit, despite being a part of the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat. But he entered the league at a time when the Bulls legend, Michael Jordan, had just retired for the first time to try his hand at baseball.

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However, nobody knew until now, what a big fan of the Bulls franchise Kukoc was when he joined the NBA. And a story about his ultimate sacrifice, one of the most important days of his life, will be more than enough to prove it.

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Toni Kukoc rushed home on his wedding night to watch the Chicago Bulls play

Kukoc was the 29th overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. However, it wasn’t until 1993 that he officially joined and played for them. But by this time, MJ was gone and had passed the leadership baton to Scottie Pippen. At first, there were a few issues between him and Pippen. The most infamous one being Kukoc being given the ball instead of Scottie to take the final shot in a playoff game against the Knicks.

This naturally meant that Scottie had to be benched for it. However, Toni continued to grow and excel in the Chicago Bulls and eventually becoming a vital part in the seasons to come, and winning three championships when Michael Jordan returned. But even before this, Kukoc was a big fan of MJ and the team.

In a recent video that outlines Kukoc’s story, his wife revealed, “I know how much he loved Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and watching the Bulls. I mean, even on our wedding night…”

 

Kukoc stepped in to complete the story and narrated, “The night we were getting married, I said, ‘We guys can party till 3 o’clock. And then there’s a game against Phoenix on TV. So, that’s when we’ll all go home…”. This was the 1993 NBA Finals when the Bulls had secured their first three-peat by defeating the Phoenix Suns in 6 games.

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Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen gave Toni a hard time

During the 1992 Summer Olympics, Jordan and Scottie Pippen did not like Kukoc at all. They made it a point to target him, and Pippen had a big personal grudge. He was not happy that the Bulls found it more important to add him to the team, than offer him a contract.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JUNE 11: Michael Jordan #23 and Scottie Pippen #33 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate after winning game five of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz on June 11, 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE/Getty Images)

However, that was all brushed under the rug when he joined the team. He is quite underrated compared to the contribution he made to the Bulls securing their second three-peat.

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Nevertheless, like every other aspiring NBA player, Kukoc was blown away by Jordan’s game. So much that he was willing to get his wedding party over with, to see the GOAT play. Now that’s a true fan!

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Yashima Bhatia

1745 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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