Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
Today’s TBT topic: Peja Stojakovic
On Dec. 16, 2014, the Sacramento Kings retired the No. 16 jersey of former All-Star and fan favorite Peja Stojakovic. He ranks first in Kings franchise history (1948-current) in 3-pointers made (1,070) and attempted (2,687), and in free throw percentage (.893). He’s also ranked second on the Kings all-time scoring list with 9,498 points scored, third in field goals made (3,352) and attempted (7,269), and fifth in steals (543).
To honor Stojakovic’s days in Sacramento, we look back at the career of this sharp-shooter:
(NOTE:Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’ve ever wondered how NBA players feel about being spotlighted on Shaqtin’ A Fool, I think it’s safe to say they usually aren’t thrilled about it. But rather than complain, the Sacramento Kings recently decided to get even. In this video, several Kings players take over Shaquille O’Neal‘s role and narrate a series of clips of Shaq’s not-so-great moments. Sorry Diesel, you had it coming…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Sacramento Kings have a roster of players all born in the ’80s and ’90s, which means they were kids during the ’90s and, by the looks of this video, spent a lot of time watching television. Pretty impressive that Jason Thompson even has the theme songs down. No shame in that game…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Joey Crawford has been an NBA referee since 1977, which means he’s probably forgotten more about the NBA than most of us know. It also means he’s had plenty of time to develop a few signature moves when making a call. Take last night, for instance, during the Kings/Grizzlies game, when Crawford whistled an offensive foul against Zach Randolph and went into a full-on dance step…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week while I was on vacation, my intrepid colleague Jeff Case served up a link to a story about NBA-themed “ugly” sweaters, which you can order from the NBA Store. Yes, these sweaters are ugly, but intentionally so, as they mock/pay tribute to the tradition of wearing “festive” garb around the holiday season.
One team has decided to aggressively embrace the ugly sweater. The Sacramento Kings recently announced plans for an ugly sweater night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks a week before Christmas.
Courtney Lee’s mental clock must tick smooth like a Rolex … a real one!
Because the Memphis Grizzlies swingman didn’t miss a beat with his buzzer-beating heroics in his team’s epic 111-110 comeback win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night at the FedEx Forum.
Lee’s beautifully-timed work not only secured the Grizzlies’ rally from a 22-point first quarter deficit that sent fans onto Beale Street feeling giddy about their Grizzlies, it also landed him a prime position on the Horry Scale.
Welcome, Courtney Lee, to the pantheon of clutch shot-makers who have helped make the modern highlight (and the game-winning bucket) the staple it has become in our daily sports diet.
Around here, such plays are evaluated according to difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration. Then they get an overall grade, represented with 1-5 Robert Horry stars, in honor of the vagabond marksman who helped the Rockets (two), Lakers (three) and Spurs (two) capture seven titles in his years with them.
Again, the Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a GWBB. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, the total package
Catch and shoot. It was the only option with so little time (:00.3 to be exact) on the clock. Well, try catching it under the basket and getting a reverse layup to go in over your head with the game on the line. It helped that the Kings fell for each and every jab step and head fake from each and every Grizzlies player, thus freeing Lee up to get to his spot unabated for the game-winning shot attempt.The catch and shoot part of it all was on Lee, and that was plenty difficult, considering the body contortion necessary tor completion of the play. The getting there, however, was courtesy of the Kings … who are clearly in a giving mood this week. This was their second straight come-from-ahead-loss of the week. They led Dallas by 18 points after the first quarter Tuesday and wound up losing 106-98. They are the first team in NBA history to lose back-to-back games that they led by 18 or more points in the first quarter.
Perhaps everyone was still in shock that the Grizzlies had come all the way back. How else do you explain them having those precious .3 seconds to work with on a do-or-die shot? If Vince Carter’s pass is off every so slightly, it’s game over. If a defender knocks Lee off course as he makes his break to the basket, there’s no way he gets his hands on the ball and gets that shot off in time. The play worked in real time exactly the way Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger scribbled it up on the whiteboard in the huddle. Marc Gasol set the perfect screen on Darren Collison. When Jason Thompson and Collison crashed into each other trying to recover, it was already too late. Lee gathered himself and was in the air with his arms outstretched. He grabbed the ball and kissed it off the glass all in the same motion. Game over.
For a Grizzlies team trying to stay atop of and set the pace in the Western Conference standings, stealing this game was huge. No team with designs on a top four seed in the playoff chase can afford to let a game like this slip away. Coming all the way back and not finishing the deal would have been a crusher.
It’s hard to tell if the look of disbelief on Lee’s face was based on his acrobatic layup going in ahead of the final buzzer or because he got completely wide open on the play. The crowd, already on its feet, went bonkers as the ball went off the glass and through the net. Lee made the rounds from the corner of the floor all the way to the Grizzlies bench, hopping in and out of the arms of his teammates along the way. It wasn’t the nifty leap onto the the scorers table we saw from Lance Stephenson. Lee had to get to the bench and watch the review on the jumbotron. He and Tayshaun Prince looked skyward and Lee raised both hands like a boxer who had just heard his name called as the winner.
Courtney Lee is an unlikely hero on a Grizzlies team with several more high-profile options. It’s a testament to this Grizzlies team that no one minds sharing the glory. It could have just as easily been Tony Allen or even Zach Randolph on the receiving end of that pass from Carter…
Given the early deficit, the comeback and the extreme degree of difficulty on that final play, the catch and the kiss … off the glass, it’s hard to give anything high marks to Lee and the Grizzlies for a game-winning play that makes its namesake proud. Give it four Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Part of what made Shaquille O’Neal such a dynamic presence when he was an active NBA player was his ability and willingness to do so many different things. For instance, not only did he play in the NBA, but he also acted in films and released several hip-hop albums. Some of those albums did better than others — as Shaq has told me before, “two platinum, two gold, and two double-wood.”
He may have another wood album on his hands. Check out this (fake, of course) commercial from the Kings, where O’Neal is a co-owner, for an album of Shaq singing pop hits. Don’t worry, you will not want to buy it…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In the waning minutes of tonight’s Kings blowout 131-109 win over Denver, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi shared a moment on the bench. This is what being teammates is all about…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen some quality flopping around these parts, but what happened in last night’s Kings/Nuggets game was truly inventive. Late in the game with the score close, the Kings’ Rudy Gay set a pin-down screen against Kenneth Faried to try and free up DeMarcus Cousins. Faried barreled into the screen, and, well, basically everyone went flying…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When an NBA team goes on the road, they know better than to expect a friendly welcome. I mean, sure, the home teams may offer a smile and handshake, but the road team is there to beat the home team, so the home team will certainly attempt to create some sort of advantage. The Celtics under Red Auerbach famously fluctuated the temperature in the visitor’s locker room. Even today, many visiting teams are given much smaller locker rooms than the home teams, with just the essentials provided.
So let’s credit the Sacramento Kings with coming up with a novel way to troll the Golden State Warriors. During their home opener on Wednesday night, while the Kings went through a perfunctory pregame introduction of the Warriors players, they cue’d up the theme song from “Full House,” the saccharine-sweet ’80s sitcom that, like the Warriors, was set in San Francisco.
It didn’t seem to have much effect — the Warriors won by 18 — but it was highly enjoyable. Let’s hope the Kings keep this up all season with city-specific music for each opponent.