Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Predrag "Peđa" ("Peja") Stojaković (born June 9, 1977) is a basketball star for the NBA's Sacramento Kings. He is one of the league's top small forwards, and a prolific scorer, especially from three-point range.
Stojaković was born in Slavonska Požega, then Yugoslavia, but his family fled Croatia during the Yugoslav wars for Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro. When he was sixteen he had to move to Greece in order to be able to play professional basketball, and settled in PAOK Thessaloniki where he spent four seasons.
The 6'10" (2.08 m) Stojaković was selected by the Kings in the first round (14th overall pick) of the 1996 NBA Draft while playing in Greece. He continued to play there until the Kings signed him prior to the 1998-99 season.
After two seasons on the bench in Sacramento, he had a breakthrough season in 2000-01, averaging 20.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and shooting .400 from three-point range in his first season as a starter. He finished second in voting for the league's Most Improved Player .
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 also led the NBA in free-throw percentage (.927) and three-pointers made for the season (240).
As a member of the Serbia and Montenegro national team, he earned gold medals at the 2001 European Championships (Eurobasket), held in Turkey, and the 2002 FIBA World Championships , held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Stojaković was a member of the all-tournament team in Indianapolis, along with fellow NBA stars Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, and Yao Ming.
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