God bless Google Alerts.
I woke up this morning to one on my phone, with a link to a generic wire preview of tonight's Kings-Hornets game. I almost dropped my coffee when I read this particular line that was left out of today's Bee coverage...
"New Orleans forward Peja Stojakovic will meet his former club in Sacramento for the first time since the Kings (20-24) traded him in the middle of the 2005-06 season."
Sure enough, it's true. After Peja was traded to Indiana in late January, 2006, the only remaining meeting against the Kings was in Indianapolis. Then last season, his back problems kept him off of the trip in which the Hornets played at Arco on Feb. 5. So more than two years later, Peja is back (although he had been back in the preseason).
At least I'm not the only one who didn't notice. The Kings marketing folks are pushing "Teacher Appreciation Night" as a way to sell tickets tonight, although they'd certainly get some more folks out there by tapping into Peja nostalgia.
He left an indelible mark on the franchise as the sweet-shooting marksman of their glory days, and left a few marks on the record book as well. He is the Sacramento-era leader in games played (518), with Mike Bibby the closest current Kings player at 469. He's second in the Sac era for points scored (9,498), second in minutes (17,723), sixth in rebounds (2,581), and - more to the point - first in three-pointers attempted (2,687) and made (1,070).
For his Kings days, that adds up to a 39.8 percent three-point shooting touch, one that's been revived this season in New Orleans. After playing just 13 games last season, Peja has already played 40 and is shooting a career-high 45.6 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 15.3 points for the 32-13 Hornets. He's tied with Charlotte's Jason Richardson for the league lead in threes averaged per game (2.8) and is third overall with 113 treys.
It says plenty about how much things have changed that Peja and Brad Miller were the last All-Star participants of any kind for the Kings. And just as they're about to be left out for the fourth straight year, enjoy this clip of Peja's shooting prowess on display at the 2004 three-point contest.
(Don't hold me to it, but I'm going to try and do this feature every Friday in which we pick some of the more entertaining hoops content from the web to share)
Living the sports fans dream
If there is a downside to covering sports for a living, it's that you have to work pretty hard to keep the fan in you alive. So many media folks get jaded quick, forgetting why it was that you pursued this sort of a career in the first place.
And then someone like Drew Cieszynski comes along to remind you.
This guy e-mailed me back in November, telling me and other writers around the country that he and his buddy were going to empty their bank accounts to do an NBA tour. And to be candid, I simply forgot to get back to him.
Nearly three months later, I came across his e-mail again and checked out the web site he had planned to use like a road diary of sorts. It's a ton of content but a fun look at what had to be a great experience. Kudos to the Kings community relations staff, which gave him all kinds of perks in his Sacramento stop and left him claiming Arco as his favorite place of them all. He even went to a Kings game I wasn't at - the Dec. 8 game at Denver that was covered by Ailene Voisin.
Enjoy it all right here. (The site's a little tricky, and you have to click on the '2007' link to see the first 13 arenas he went to).
When Mikki Moore hit the floor in New Orleans for his Kings debut on Oct. 31, he forgot to take his warm-ups top off.
Cleveland's Donyell Marshall had the opposite problem yesterday, entering play without a jersey. And as if LeBron James' sprained ankle wasn't enough to deal with, he now has stitches to deal with after laughing hysterically at his teammate's mistake.
Come see CP3
If "Teacher Appreciation night" and Peja's return aren't enough to get you out to Arco tonight, then seeing Chris Paul in action just might be.
In honor of the third-year player's first All-Star berth, take a peek at these top 10 highlights from his rookie season and be reminded why his becoming an All-Star wasn't a matter of if, but when.
Trade talks...sort of
By way of sactownroyalty's Tom Ziller, a mock look at Geoff Petrie trying to make a trade happen. All in fun, people. Remember that. Here it is.
For the multi-taskers out there
I don't do any blogging during the actual games, but that's one of the many things Andrew Nicholson of Kings.com is all over. So for those who can watch the game, listen to Grant and Jerry commentate and comprehend what's on their computer screen at the same time?! This is for you. It's a light-hearted blow-by-blow of what's going on during each home game from the amiable young man who's always sitting on my right courtside. - Sam Amick