Peja Stojakovic: I had to give up studies in order to be successful in basketball

peja-stojakovic-dallasFormer NBA forward Predrag “Peja” Stojakovic said that he was in favor of American system of learning and playing basketball in schools and colleges before graduating to the pro ranks unlike the European one which is based on clubs.

“We don’t have college league. We have club basketball, unlike in US. It’s very important to have sports together with education. If you look at club basketball, how many players are going to be successful.. among 100 guys, may be one guy may make it,” Stojakovic said.

Stojakovic, along with fellow former NBA stars Horace Grant and Ron Harper was in India in late September as part of NBA’s NBA Jam 3-on-3 session.

“During all this time, all these guys are going to quit their education and the 99 players would lose their time to education and it would be hard to get back on their feet. I had to give up studies in order to be successful in sport. If I hadn’t succeeded, I would have been in trouble.”

Stojakovic won the NBA championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, and has been a member of the NBA All-Star game 3 times.

Stojakovic holds career averages of 17 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 33.5 mpg in 804 NBA games (665 started). He averaged career high 24.2 ppg for the Sacramento Kings in 03-04, shooting league’s best 92 percent from the free throw line.

Further Stojakovic was asked about Shaquille O’Neal buying a minority stake in NBA franchise Sacramento Kings, in which India-born tech tycoon Vivek Ranadive has majority stakes.

Stojakovic said he doesn’t see many other players following in the legend’s footsteps.

“It is exciting. He is going to help the Kings franchise whose roots are from India. Main thing for that team is they are able to stay in Sacramento to keep the team in the city. Now it is for them to build a new arena and a new team,” he said.

“I can’t picture him as an owner. To me he will always be a funny guy. I heard he is a smart business guy. But I don’t see many other players to follow (his example). It costs huge money,” Stojakovic underscored.


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