Milwaukee Bucks forward Toni Kukoc has been a part of many big games. Known as the “European Michael Jordan,” Kukoc was named European Player of the Year three straight times before starting his NBA career with the Bulls in 1994. He played a big role during the second Bulls’ three-peat, coming off the bench to pour in 13 points per game during their championship runs.
But perhaps it’s Kukoc’s last-second heroics in the 1994 playoffs that NBA fans will remember most. And if they don’t, Kukoc will make sure he reminds them.
Eric Smithson, a 16-year-old from Milwaukee, encountered the Bucks Croatian-born forward at a local Walgreens. Thinking Kukoc was Bucks’ center Dan Gadzuric, Smithson approached him with an autograph request.
After speaking with him and finding out it was actually Kukoc, the youngster changed his mind.
“I told him I wanted Gadzuric’s autograph,” said Smithson. “He was like, ‘But I’m Toni Kukoc. I hit that shot for the Bulls in the ’94 playoffs with 1.8 seconds left against the Knicks. Remember? That time when Scottie Pippen refused to play because Phil [Jackson] didn’t design the play around him?'”
Kukoc proceeded to ask every Walgreens employee and customer if they remembered the play, even reenacting it in the grocery aisle. Kukoc reminded everyone he made the shot in 1994, even though this time the tomato didn’t land in the trash can.