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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Kings sharpshooter wants his rest

Associated Press

Peja Stojakovic said Wednesday he will not play for Serbia and Montenegro at the Athens Olympics, depriving the defending world champions of their best perimeter scorer.

The three-time NBA All-Star of the Sacramento Kings said he was tired and his decision is irreversible -- even though people in his homeland are urging him to change his mind.

"No way. I already spoke with the team officials. We talked about it, and it's done," Stojakovic told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I'm not going to go."

Stojakovic will be in Greece during the Olympics, fulfilling the end of a three-month stint in the Greek army. He holds duel citizenship in Greece and Serbia and Montenegro.

Stojakovic said he planned to watch the games with friends from the beach in Thessaloniki, where he keeps a home. Stojakovic's girlfriend, who also lives there, is expecting a baby in two to three weeks.

"I've played for the national team for six years," he said. "Every summer there is something going on -- the world championships, the European championship, the Olympics. I just felt tired."

His fellow Serbian players "understand guys need to rest after they have a long season. They still have a lot of good young guys," Stojakovic said.

The absence of Stojakovic could hurt Serbia and Montenegro's chances for a medal.

Serbia and Montenegro, Spain and Lithuania are considered among the top European contenders to advance in the medal round.

"I don't know what kind of chances they'll have," Stojakovic said. "I wish them the best and I'm hoping for the best."

Fellow NBA player Vlade Divac, who was Stojakovic's teammate with the Sacramento Kings for six seasons before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, also is expected to sit out the Olympics.