Toni Kukoc Quotes

  1. There were games I would score five and games I would score 30, and sometimes the five points were way more important than the 30.
  2. I thought those three years when we won championships, I really was good enough to play in the All-Star game. I felt I deserved to be in the top whatever that would be, the top 20-some players in the league. Really felt that comfortable and confident on the basketball court.
  3. I’ve always said that besides the NBA, the Yugoslavian league and a Russian league were the best basketball leagues in the world.
  4. I didn’t play the No. 4 spot much at all in Europe.
  5. I have to go to the NBA and try.
  6. It’s a saying if coach likes and sees good stuff in you and wants you to play he’ll pick on you, he’ll make you work and do things right. Once he stops talking to you, you know you’re done.
  7. When you reach triple-double, you know you were involved in every part of the game.
  8. War very strange thing. Not easy, not easy for sure to leave family, friends, even car, house, everything.
  9. I worry for the future of the world. For my children.
  10. Only Vlade Divac go first year he play. The rest of the guys from Europe sit on the bench.
  11. When I step on the court, it’s not just my shot, I’m trying to get better in all aspects of the game, defense, rebounding.
  12. I would say it was my fault, my choice to not allow people to know who I was. Places I went, people I knew, they knew the way Toni Kukoc was as a person and they all treated me great. Everyone else who just read the newspapers and tried to learn about me, I guess I was not that good of a guy.
  13. It feels great to have the chance to play with the Chicago Bulls.
  14. I don’t want to say which guard it was with the Bulls, but I would take the ball and he would come to me and say, ‘You are taking my bread.’ I didn’t know the slang.
  15. I am a basketball player. For me to sit on the bench at 21, 22, not what I wanted.
  16. I love Scottie. The guy that helped me the most those first two years was Scottie. He is so easy to play with.
  17. Coming here, I never thought about being like what I was supposed to be in Europe, the No. 1 guy and building the whole team around you. Coming here, I was relaxed about that because I knew there was going to be Michael, Scottie, Horace and I could learn from them.
  18. I always felt comfortable looking at the court.
  19. I always thought about the NBA.
  20. I know that three months before the season is not enough to become a good NBA player, but it’s a start.
  21. When you see me laughing on the court, it means I’m having fun and enjoying the game.
  22. I have always felt that I have to play with the ball to be the best player I can.
  23. I’ve been playing 10 years and I know it’s easier starting the game. You have the opportunity to play much more aggressively.
  24. My choice was either Chicago or Milwaukee. Milwaukee is going with a young team and Chicago is in need of a big guy, so that’s it.
  25. I feel as long as I’m playing productive minutes, I’ll play. But if I’m sitting on the bench and not doing anything, then I’ll retire.
  26. I had to change my game completely. I was what Scottie was. What he was doing here I was doing in Europe.
  27. My biggest reason for coming is to prove to myself that I can play in the NBA.
  28. When some new guy wants to beat you, and you know you are better than him, you will make him see immediately who is the boss.
  29. It is a thrill and an honor to again be a part of the team that helped define my basketball career here in the United States and in Chicago. The Bulls have become my extended family, and I am really looking forward to the future and being a Bull for life.
  30. Maybe two or three years will be enough for me to grow into a good NBA player.
  31. Maybe NBA teams won’t want me and maybe I’ll play in Europe the last one or two seasons.
  32. At least I can say no player got as much attention from the Dream Team as I did.
  33. If people say my numbers aren’t enough for the Hall of Fame, I’m fine with that.
  34. Sometimes in my mind I have a picture of something happening, and because the foot is not right it is harder to happen. I see the ball and I can see myself intercepting it or rebounding or doing this stuff, and it’s just not there. There’s not the movement or explosiveness.
  35. There is nothing personal between Pippen and me.
  36. It was always a dream to come to the NBA.
  37. It was almost an accident that I got into basketball at all but fortunately it wasn’t too late and I was able to be a part of a great generation for the sport.
  38. I think it’s time for me to move away from basketball. It was a huge part of my life and gave me pretty much everything I desired but there comes a time when you just can’t take it anymore.
  39. I mean, if you’re going to get traded, you’re always looking for a good team to play with.
  40. Like everybody coming from Europe, I didn’t believe it at first, but you really need time to adjust. I thought it was going to be like going from Croatia to Italy. But you really need the time just to understand things here.
  41. I know Steve Kerr well and his basketball IQ is really high. He knows everything about basketball.
  42. I never score a lot of points.
  43. My uncle was almost hit by a sniper while dropping his son at basketball practice.
  44. I try to imagine what it will be like to play for the Bulls. I don’t think I will be able to feel it before I step on the court at Chicago Stadium.
  45. Someone can tell you something a million times, but if you don’t know what they’re talking about, it’s hard to adjust and even more difficult to become a believer.
  46. For nine years, I was playing at more or less the same weight and I’m a little bit slower than I used to be. But I’m glad I have a couple of pounds more because I think it will help me in games for sure.
  47. I have an easy way to explain the war. It’s a Croatian defending his country and a Serb attacking a Croatian country. With anyone who has a problem with understanding what’s going on, that is the easiest way to understand it.
  48. My wife doesn’t want to go. She says, ‘I am your wife, I will do as a wife should.’ But she is worried about what she will do in Chicago, all by herself.
  49. Sometimes I haven’t been happy, but it was never a problem with somebody around me. And winning, that helps a lot.
  50. Obviously the game is more enjoyable when the ball is shared and everybody looks for each other on both ends of the floor.
  51. Kevin Durant, to me in my personal opinion, is the best player in the NBA.
  52. The ultimate sports figure. The ultimate competitor. Great person. I consider him my friend. I wouldn’t be that good if I was Michael Jordan.
  53. When my game is going well, everything gets much easier, offensively and defensively.
  54. I am not a prima donna. It’s just that I feel cold on the bench.
  55. Scottie was just a different character than Michael. He was more the soft side. Every once in a while he would explode, but he would help me. Michael on the other end was almost always aggressive.
  56. Everything about me is Croatian.
  57. I think it’s very important for every player after a long season, whether it’s good or bad, to get total rest. Not just physically and mentally from basketball and the pressure on the court, but the pressures outside, too. Then, when you come back, everything’s exciting again.
  58. My thought is the only way I will have progress is in the NBA.
  59. A lot has to be the NBA. I don’t know if I can say it is the egos of the players or the money that goes around and everything. But those relationships between the coaches and the players are just not the same. They are not even close to the European coach-player relationships.
  60. Money-wise, I was probably the best player in Europe. It was safe where I was in Italy. But I wanted to play in the NBA to see if I could.
  61. I’m not a political man. I’m a basketball player. So that’s what I have to do first. But second, I will try to help my country because I am a Croatian.
  62. War is not game. If you lose, you can be mad or sad two or three days. War makes you sad every day, every minute.
  63. I kind of expect that the people wouldn’t know me. I know I’m tall and I cannot escape that.
  64. I’m a sportsman, not a political man.
  65. I understood I would have to earn respect. I was coming to the best team in the world. You have to put aside all your accolades and pride. It doesn’t matter if you were good in Europe. I was OK with that.
  66. I’m disappointed anytime I don’t play well.
  67. Now if you ask me about coming from Europe, I would suggest to any young player interested in the NBA to not spend two or three years in Europe searching for money. Just give it a shot. You can always go back.
  68. Those two months I didn’t play didn’t help me. But injuries are a part of basketball.
  69. I never was anybody’s guy. I always was myself.
  70. Obviously, when you come onto a team that’s playing in the Finals and the standards are so high that nothing but winning a championship is success, coming in new to that kind of environment, of course you’re going to put pressure on yourself.
  71. Michael may be the biggest player in the N.B.A., but he’s not the N.B.A.
  72. You never know when people with sick minds can destroy your life. It doesn’t matter how well life is going on for you that moment. If that can’t happen in the middle of New York City, it can happen anywhere else. If the terrorists can hit the Pentagon or the White House I don’t see where it’s safe.
  73. Everyone has an ego. Even someone that doesn’t play one minute has an ego.
  74. It’s not requirement to have a point guard, you can have skill players with 3 or 4 guys on the same team playing multiple positions.
  75. Everybody knows the NBA is the top of basketball in the world. The game here is more hard, more physical, faster than in Europe.
  76. I can pass the ball pretty well.
  77. I shot millions and millions of shots, just wanted the ball and felt good every time I released the ball, especially in those last seconds of big games.
  78. I was one of the main guys on my team and you always want to check people that you’re bringing in. Are they tough enough physically and mentally? Can they respond when you need them to respond?
  79. When the confidence builds it is easier for the player to come into the next game.
  80. My family, I can say, is pretty Americanized. My son has lived pretty much all his life in Chicago, my daughter was born in Chicago, we all like Chicago.
  81. When I was drafted by Chicago, I said, ‘Wow, it would be nice to play with those guys.’ I knew I’d have an automatic chance to win a championship.
  82. When I first started playing, we practiced nine hours a day. Five and a half to six hours of those were working on the fundamentals.
  83. I always felt like I needed to play basketball.
  84. I don’t think the people in Chicago really knew exactly who I was in the seven years I was there.
  85. I actually played a lot of other sports – table tennis and soccer for a long time.
  86. I would watch San Antonio play and see plays I recognized from the Russian team, the Yugoslavian team.
  87. It is nice to start a game and feel the game from the beginning, but I have to pick up the pace when I come off the bench.
  88. Plenty of times LeBron is mistaken as a point guard, which is awesome.
  89. I have got to stay aggressive. When I have a shot, I have to take that shot.
  90. It’s easy. You just shoot the ball and then hope it’s going to go in.
  91. Chicago is one of the greatest places when it comes to sports. It kind of reminds me of my hometown in Split. It doesn’t matter how bad the soccer team is, everybody worships the soccer, the players and the games.
  92. I try to help people looking for food and money and clothes. I have done some radio transmissions here in Italy to tell people the truth about Croatia.
  93. It is a much bigger thing to have a world championship with Chicago than this one in Italy.
  94. It would be nice to play again for a team that has a great chance to win a championship.
  95. It’s very tough to build a championship team. It takes time and good players, and you have to get lucky as well.
  96. I’m excited to try the NBA. But, for sure, I need time on the court to get used to this style.
  97. Michael will always, to me, be the best player ever. He changed the game. He made it global. Every player today should tip their hat to him.
  98. My generation, with Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis, that was the first wave of European players that kind of opened the door for the world.
  99. In Italy, my wife and I always said we feel like strangers because there’s maybe only a couple other people from other parts of the world. Here in Chicago, there’s millions of people from Poland, thousands from Japan, hundreds from Croatia. We like it here.
  100. There’s a lot of things in my life that are more important I have to think about than what someone puts in the newspaper, or says on TV.

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