The Relentless Drive of Toni Kukoc
Plenty of retired athletes take up golf. But when the Chicago Bulls’ legendarily versatile sixth man picks up a new pastime, he’s not playing any games.
Photo by Barry Gossage / Getty
Toni Kukoč takes a long stare down the first fairway at Briarwood Country Club in Deerfield, Illinois, a private course about thirty miles north of Chicago. It’s a picturesque day for golf; warm and sunny with a slight breeze pushing towards the pin. At this hour, the only other patrons on the course are chirping birds and the white oak trees surrounding the fairway. Kukoč sizes up his shot, mentally game-planning how to attack the 421-yard, par-four first hole. Standing at six feet, eleven inches tall, Kukoč grabs a massive driver from his bag, takes a few practice shots then steps to the tee with a slight limp, one of his battle scars from a two-decade basketball career and a hip replacement surgery. A lefty, the three-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls lets his enormous backswing rip. After following through, Kukoč looks up with a smile, happy that the first of his thirty-six tee shots for the day drives right down the middle of the fairway. He w…