Tuesday, September 12, 2006

END OF AN ERA

I know that many of you were nearly frantic about my lack of a Sunday New York Times post. As it happened, our delivery person either was too hung over to deliver our paper, or some low-life swiped it. Either is possible. And so it goes.

Anyway, I saw a news item today that is a little sad. Toni Kukoc, who despite the spelling of his first name is a man (see e.g. Toni Braxton, Toni Morrison, etc.), has decided to retire from the NBA. The Waiter (as he was sometimes called) was a huge star in European basketball. He was a two-time European player of the year, as well as a two time Olympic silver medalist. Of course, in the 1992 Olympics Pippen and Jordan took it as their personal mission to remind Jerry Krause that his beloved Toni Kukoc was not yet an NBA player. I will never forget the two of them double teaming him in that game. Two of the NBA's premier defenders working NBA-Finals hard to pimp a guy as a tactic to get Pippen another, better contract. Welcome to American basketball in the 1990s Toni.

In any case, Toni is the last member of the Bulls second run to leave the NBA. While Jordan's second retirement probably put an end to the era, with Toni's departure we Bulls fans will no longer unexpectedly smile and remember those years when the rare former Bull highlight makes SportsCenter.

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