Sacramento Kings set to retire Peja Stojakovic’s jersey
Peja Stojakovic’s No. 16 is about to get the royal treatment.
The Sacramento Kings announced this morning that they intend to retire the former All-Star forward’s jersey on Dec. 16 when the Kings face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Sleep Train Arena. Stojakovic joins Mitch Richmond, Vlade Divac and Chris Webber as the fourth Sacramento-era King to receive the honor.
Drafted by the Kings with the 14th overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft, Stojakovic spent another two seasons playing in Europe before joining Sacramento following the 1998 lockout. Over his eight seasons with the Sacramento Kings, Stojakovic and his teammates compiled a record of 395-229 record, including eight-straight playoff appearances.
Their unselfish play and entertaining style earned them the moniker “The greatest show on court”, which was featured on the cover of the Feb. 19, 2001 edition of Sports Illustrated.
“It would be an unbelievable honor,” Stojakovic said. “Unbelievable. Just when you said that, I got goose bumps. When I was a kid, my dream was to play in the NBA. I never thought that I would be a good player. I never thought I was going to be an All-Star. I never thought I would be in the playoffs. Each and every year, for me, was special. I was always trying to achieve somethings more. It would definitely be an amazing honor.”
In his eight seasons in Sacramento, Stojakovic played in three All-Star games and was voted to the All-NBA second team during the 2003-04 season. He made the playoffs in all but two of his 13 seasons in the league and helped lead the Kings to the Western Conference Finals during the 2001-02 season.
“Peja Stojakovic was instrumental in putting Sacramento on the map on a global scale,” Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé said in the team’s official release. “As one of only a select group of Serbian players in the NBA, Peja helped carve out a place for basketball players from all over the world. Recognizing his leadership will be a special moment for fans and the entire Kings organization, as well as a great reminder of the kind of success we are building in Sacramento.”
Stojakovic was traded to the Indiana Pacers for forward Ron Artest on Jan. 25, 2006. He would go on to play five more seasons in the league after leaving Sacramento, finishing with career averages of 17 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Stojakovic retired following the 2010-11 season in which he won his first and only NBA Championship as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.