“It was definitely at that time, the happiest day of my life.” Peja Stojakovic reminisces.
In the 1996 NBA Draft, the 6'9 Serbian native was the first round 14th overall pick acquired by the Sacramento Kings.
While Peja is still remembered for being a 3-point sharpshooter, it didn't start out that way.
“I remember the first game, it wasn’t a very good game for me. We played San Antonio and I only had 2 points. I shot an air-ball… I might have been a little nervous - all the guys had a lot of fun with that.”
Peja only got better from there, and him and his teammates went on to form one the most legendary Kings teams within the franchise.
Vlade Divac, Doug Christie and Bobby Jackson are all key members of that legendary squad, and Peja claims that their bond hasn’t changed since they were on the hardwood together.
“We have so much love, respect and trust for each other” says Peja.
The unwavering support was seen there when all of his former teammates surrounded him, as the Kings retired No. 16’s jersey in 2014.
“It’s very humbling feeling. I always think about the team though… it wasn’t just a celebration of my accomplishments. I think of all of the great years we had as a team and how close we were of achieving that goal of winning the championship” says Stojakovic.
Switching gears to the up-and-coming young Kings, Stojakovic is proud of the new squad.
“We have a really great group of guys and I think the people of this city recognize that. They see the great group of guys with a lot of talent for the game and they are giving them great support.”
“Everybody [our fans] can see that we have really great product and I think everyone should all be proud of that. Just seeing the young team perform this well, it is promising not only for this year but the years ahead.”
Catch the full interview with Peja and Kayte Christensen-Hunter on Kings Central, here.