Peja Stojakavic


Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Greece

Peja Stojaković was born in Serbia on June 9, 1977.
After playing for KK Crvena zvezda and PAOK BC basketball club, while playing Greece Stojaković was drafted fourteenth overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 1996 NBA Draft. He continued to play there until the Kings signed him prior to the 1998–99 NBA lockout season. After two seasons on the bench with Sacramento, he had a breakthrough season in 2000–01, averaging 20.4 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting .400 from three-point range in his first season as a starter. He finished second in voting for the 2001 Most Improved Player Award. In 2001–02, he played in the NBA All-Star Game for the first time. His scoring average went up to 21.2 ppg, and he reached career highs in shooting percentage (.484) and three-point percentage (.416). His scoring average dropped slightly to 19.2 ppg in 2002–03, but he played again in the All-Star Game. In both seasons, he won the three-point shooting contest conducted during All-Star Weekend. In 2003–04, Stojaković was again selected as an All-Star, and finished second in the league in scoring with a career-high 24.2 ppg. He finished fourth in MVP voting and was voted on to the All-NBA 2nd Team. He also led the NBA in free-throw percentage (.933) and three-pointers made for the season (240). In 2004–05, he missed 16 games to injury, and was somewhat hampered in several games, but still averaged 20.1 ppg.

In 2006, Peja was traded to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Ron Artest, ending his eight-year tenure with the Kings. However, he missed four games of their first round playoff series with the New Jersey Nets, all losses. During the 2006 offseason, he re-signed with the Pacers, only to be traded to the then-New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. On November 14, 2006, Stojaković scored a career-high 42 points against the Charlotte Bobcats, and became the first player in NBA history to open the game with 20 straight points for his team. He was soon sidelined for several months by injuries, including back surgery, as a result missing most of the 2006–07 season. On November 20, 2010, Peja was traded to the Toronto Raptors. After appearing in only two games, Stojakovic was released by the Raptors. He had missed 26 games due to a left knee injury. Two days later he signed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks won the NBA Championship that year, with Peja averaging 7.1 points per game during the Mavericks’ playoff run. He scored more than 20 points in two different playoff games for the Mavericks.

While playing for his home country, Peja led the Yugoslavian national team to gold medals in the 2001 EuroBasket and 2002 FIBA World Championship. Often considered to be one of the most successful Serbian basketball players, Peja was named the Euroscar European Basketball Player of the Year by the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport and the Mister Europa European Player of the Year twice by the Italian sports magazine Superbasket.

On December 19, 2011, Peja announced his retirement from basketball, ending a great career for one of the league’s greatest international players.