SACRAMENTO - Former Kings forward Peja Stojakovic returned to Sacramento to a standing ovation, when he was introduced during Sunday's game against the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena.
Stojakovic, who retired from the NBA three years ago, returned for the first time to the city where his NBA career started, after the Kings made him a first round draft pick in 1996.
"We enjoyed playing together," Stojakovic told News10. "We had fun. We were always together, both on and off the court. It was like a big family."
Stojakovic, who will turn 37 in June, spent eight seasons in the Capitol city and said he realized how special his Kings teams were early in his career.
"Even to this day I remember when we were on the road the whole team would go to dinner together," Stojakovic said. "I thought that every team did that because it was my first NBA team but people told me, 'no, this is very rare.'"
The 13-year NBA veteran now splits his post-NBA years between homes in Greece and Miami. He closely followed the Kings saga with Seattle and was thrilled when the new owners stepped up and kept the team in Sacramento.
"I am so happy that the team stayed, said Stojakovic. "This town really deserved the team because the time that I was here, the support and love that we were receiving and the connection that was there, I really couldn't imagine this team going somewhere else."
Even though he who won an NBA Championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, said he still considers Sacramento his NBA home and wants to remain a part of the new ownership and franchise.
"The eight years I spent here were the best eight years of my career. I grew here as a player and as a person. (Sacramento) is always going to be home."
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