Leading Off

Leading Off: Should Stojakovic’s number be retired?

Kings Bobby Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Scot Pollard, Chris Webber and Mike Bibby huddle in the fourth quarter in game five of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at Arco Arena, Monday, May 28, 2002.
Kings Bobby Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Scot Pollard, Chris Webber and Mike Bibby huddle in the fourth quarter in game five of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at Arco Arena, Monday, May 28, 2002. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

The Kings teams that featured Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and Doug Christie were the best in the franchise’s Sacramento era.

Webber and Divac, the two best players, deserve to have their jerseys hanging from the rafters at Sleep Train Arena.

But Stojakovic?

When the Kings announced Tuesday that Stojakovic’s jersey would join Webber, Divac, Oscar Robertson, Nate Archibald and others, the news release described Stojakovic as an NBA champion.

Yes, he won a title – with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Perhaps if the Kings had won a title with Stojakovic he’d be more worthy of this honor.

We’re not saying Stojakovic wasn’t a fine player. He averaged 18.3 points and made the All-Star team three times in eight seasons with the Kings. But he was the third-best player on a team that failed to win a championship, despite coming close in 2002 (or being robbed, as some Kings fans still insist).

The Lakers’ 1984-85 team that went 15-4 in the playoffs to win the NBA title featured three players – Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy – who deserved to have their numbers retired. All three also were named to the NBA’s all-time-greatest 50 players in 1996.

The Lakers, who have won 16 titles, have retired seven numbers (Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Worthy, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich).

The Kings’ franchise, which has won one title (1951), will have 10 retired numbers ( Archibald, Bob Davies, Divac, Sam Lacy, Mitch Richmond, Robertson, Stojakovic, Maurice Stokes, Jack Twyman and Webber), if you don’t count No. 6 in honor of the fans.

Is this a marketing ploy by the Kings to sell more tickets?

At this point, tickets for the Dec. 16 game – get it, No. 16 on the 16th? – during which Stojakovic will be honored only can be purchased as part of the “Big Game Pack,” a 10-game package starting at $399.

– Tom Couzens

tcouzens@sacbee.com


What to watch

NFL, Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., Ch. 13, NFL Network: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan could have a huge game; the Buccaneers allowed the Rams’ Austin Davis to pass for 235 yards last weekend.


Today’s poll

Does Peja Stojakovic’s deserve to have his Kings jersey retired?

• Yes



• No



To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports


Wednesday’s results

Which cause should the NFL support in October?

• Breast cancer: 13%

• Domestic violence: 25%



• Both: 62%



Total votes: 97


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