In 1999, the Kings began an eight-year playoff streak that included five straight 50-win seasons and a trip to the Western Conference finals.
The sweet-passing Chris Webber-Vlade Divac big-man tandem defined the best of those teams, and Mike Bibby – once he replaced Jason Williams – earned recognition for carrying Sacramento in its playoff runs.
But don’t forget how good Peja Stojakovic, whose NBA career began in 1999, was during that soan.
The Kings haven’t.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
This is a well-deserved honor, one Stojakovic earned by both his peak and longevity in Sacramento. In 2004, he finished fourth in MVP voting, even receiving a first-place vote. And he ranks second in points to Mitch Richmond in franchise history since the Kings moved to Sacramento.
Stojakovic’s No. 16 will become the 11th number retired by the Kings, joining:
- 1 – Tiny Archibald
- 2 – Mitch Richmond
- 4 – Chris Webber
- 6 – Fans
- 11 – Bob Davies
- 12 – Maurice Stokes
- 14 – Oscar Robertson
- 21 – Vlade Divac
- 27 – Jack Twyman
- 44 – Sam Lacey