Dec 19, 2011, 5:53 PM EDT
Peja Stojakovic, the Croatian-born sharpshooter, has announced he is going to retire from the NBA after a 13-year NBA career.
Stojakovic spoke to ESPNDallas.com about the decision.
The three-time All-Star told ESPN.com on Monday that the physical toll involved in playing after a string of back and neck troubles, at age 34, convinced him that “it’s time” to step away from the game despite interest from a handful of contenders in signing the sharpshooter away from the Mavericks.
“When you start competing against your body more than you’re preparing for the actual game,” Stojakovic said, “it’s a wakeup call.”
Stojakovic was a three-time All-Star on some very good Sacramento Kings teams a decade ago (a team that featured Chris Webber and then very good Mike Bibby). He went on to be the designated kick-out guy for Chris Paul in New Orleans, then last year won a ring with Dallas (having some big games in the sweep of the Lakers). We think of him as a catch-and-shoot three-point specialist (he was) but his game was more rounded than that, he could put it on the floor and played with a high IQ of the game.
For his career he averaged 17 points per game and shot 40.1 percent from three. Impressive numbers. He also helped lead Yugoslavia to two European championships.
David Stern released this statement on Stojakovic’s retirement.
“Peja will go down as one of the great shooters in the history of the NBA. His success was the result of a tireless work ethic and an unquenchable desire to be the best at what he did. Peja’s legacy, however, goes way beyond his 3-point skills and that elusive Finals title he won last season with the Dallas Mavericks. Peja was part of the wave of international stars that helped introduce the world to the NBA game and inspired thousands of fans to begin playing the sport of basketball.”
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