Michael Jordan & Jerry Reinsdorf to present Toni Kukoc into Hall of Fame

Kukoc will be officially enshrined on Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts.
by Sam Smith
Remind Me Later

Body

Michael Jordan owns a golf course; Toni Kukoc owns Michael Jordan on the golf course.

The former Bulls teammates have become something of an odd couple in basketball retirement, the North Carolina ace and long armed Croatian rare bird—an albatross in golf vernacular?—often teeing it up around the country and the world, Kukoc an elite scratch golfer who often can match touring pros. The asphalt of North Carolina and the dusty courts of eastern Europe can make strange basketball bedfellows. But birdies and bogies produce links.

So one day six or seven years ago Jordan, who knows basketball talent, was talking with Kukoc and said when Kukoc was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, he'd like to there for him as a presenter. Jordan had emphasized when and not if for the one-time Bulls Sixth Man of the Year who was a European big shot who made numerous big shots for the 1996-1998 three-time Bulls NBA champions.

Kukoc was delighted.

And then came the news in May Kukoc finally was to be enshrined in the 2021 Hall of Fame class this Saturday, September 11.

Then came some disappointing news.

Jordan, who recently built his own golf course near Jupiter, Fla., called to apologize. He could not make it after all; his daughter, Jasmine, was being married and he, of course, would be walking her down the aisle.

"I completely understood," Kukoc said. "You have to be with your family first. I was just so honored he wanted to be there for me."

Then Jordan called again; the wedding had to be delayed because of the Covid virus.

"Michael told me he'd like to be a presenter for me if I would still have him," Kukoc recalled with a laugh. "What do you think I said?"

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Wednesday announced the presenters for the Saturday night enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Mass. Jordan and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will be on stage for Kukoc.

Some of the other presenters for those making the cut include Vlade Divac and Jack Sikma for former Portland coach Rick Adelman, Pat Riley and Ray Allen for Miami's Chris Bosh, Oscar Robertson for Bob Dandridge, Charles Barkley, Jerry Colangelo and Phil Knight for the late coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, Russ Granik and Rick Welts for former WNBA president Val Ackerman, Kevin Garnett for Paul Pierce, Larry Brown for Ben Wallace, Isiah Thomas for Chris Webber and a six-some of basketball Hall of Famers for Bill Russell being enshrined as a coach 46 years after being inducted as a player.

Par for the course.

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