The Sacramento Kings announced today that the #16 jersey of three-time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion Peja Stojakovic will be retired on December 16, when the Kings host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Sleep Train Arena. During his eight seasons in Sacramento, the fan-favorite small forward played more games for the Kings than any player during the Sacramento era and had an immeasurable impact on the community both on and off the court.
“Peja Stojakovic was instrumental in putting Sacramento on the map on a global scale,” said Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé. “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.”
The Kings drafted Serbia-born Stojakovic in the first-round (14th overall) of the 1996 NBA Draft. In addition to leading the Kings in games played during the Sacramento-era, Stojakovic ranks first in Kings franchise history (1948-current) in three-pointers made (1,070) and attempted (2,687), and in free throw percentage (.893). He’s also ranked second on the Kings all-time scoring list with 9,498 points scored, third in field goals made (3,352) and attempted (7,269), and fifth in steals (543).
“My time in Sacramento was the best years of my career and truly some of the best years of my life,” said Stojakovic. “I am proud of what we built in Sacramento and the connection we made with the fans and the community. Kings fans are some of the best fans in the world, and it was an honor to play for them. I want to thank Vivek and the entire Kings family for welcoming me back for this celebration, and I look forward to following the exciting times ahead for the Sacramento Kings.”
Stojakovic’s professional career began at the age of 14 with the Serbian club Red Star Belgrade. After being drafted by the Kings, he went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA highlighted by a NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Also during his NBA career, Stojakovic won the NBA All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout twice and was the first European-born player to win an All-Star Weekend competition. He ranks in the top 10 in NBA history in several categories, including 4th in career free throw percentage (.895), 9th in three-pointers made (1,760), and 7th in playoff free throw percentage (.900). Additionally, Stojakovic is the first player in NBA history to start a game off by scoring his team’s first 20 points.
“Peja was part of the awesome Kings dynasty that we’re working hard to bring back to Sacramento,” said Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. “His high basketball IQ and unique ability to connect with the fans had a huge impact on the team and the community, and we hope Peja’s passion and determination carry over into this new era of Kings basketball.”
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