The Sacramento Kings will honor the contributions of former All-Stars Chris Webber and Vlade Divac by retiring each of their numbers in two separate ceremonies during upcoming Kings’ games.
“Vlade and Chris represent the best duo at their respective positions in franchise history, and they were the centerpieces to one of the most exciting and popular teams, not only in Sacramento, but in the country,” explained Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. “They were both great teammates and contributed the winning attitude and chemistry required to reach the heights that they did. Together they changed the face of the franchise and we’re all indebted to them for that.”
Webber’s #4 will be raised to the rafters on February 6th when Sacramento hosts the Utah Jazz (7 pm). Divac’s #21 will be hoisted high above the ARCO Arena floor on March 31st when the Kings take on the New Orleans Hornets (7 pm).
“We had such a wonderful run of success with Chris and Vlade that they became part of the family and an integral part of the franchise,” said Kings Owner Joe Maloof. “We will always be indebted to them for their great play, professionalism and charitable contributions to the community.”
Webber and Divac will be become the eighth and ninth players, respectively, to have their numbers retired in franchise history, and only the second and third players, respectively, of the Sacramento-Era.
“Chris was the face of the franchise and one of the best power forwards of his time,” said Kings Owner Gavin Maloof. “He is a great person and tremendous leader. We enjoyed watching him play on a nightly basis. He possessed great all-around skills. He had exceptional scoring, rebounding and passing abilities. It was fun to watch.
“I want to thank Vlade for his hard work, dedication and loyalty to the franchise. He is a first-class person, was the consummate teammate and one of the most likable individuals we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Along with Chris Webber and others, Vlade guided the Kings from obscurity to prominence during his tenure in Sacramento, and I’ll always be grateful for his contributions.”
Collectively, Webber and Divac powered a Sacramento Kings team that won a franchise-record 61 games in 2001-02, back-to-back Pacific Division titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and made six consecutive NBA Playoff appearances from 1998-99 to 2003-04.
“I never dreamed this day would come,” Webber said. “I’m honored and humbled because there are so many people to thank, including the fans, Maloof family, Geoff Petrie, my teammates and former coaches. I have wonderful memories of my time in Sacramento, and I’m glad I can call it home.”
Webber, a 6-10, 240-pound forward, whom the Kings acquired via a trade with Washington in-exchange for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe on May 14, 1998, played seven seasons for Sacramento from 1998-99 to 2004-05. He was a four-time NBA All-Star Game selection (five-time overall in his career) with the Kings (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003), garnering two starting assignments (2001 and 2002). Additionally, Webber was a five-time All-NBA Team selection (1998-99 to 2000-01), and was named to the First Team in 2000-01. His 14 triple-doubles and 26 rebounds (versus Indiana on January 5, 2001) are the most in franchise history during the Sacramento-era. Among franchise career leaders, Webber, who normally filled his entire stats line on a nightly basis, ranks 10th in points (8,843), 7th in rebounds (4,006), 8th in field goals made (3,691), 6th in steals (568) and 4th in blocked shots (553). He led the NBA in rebounding in 1998-99 with a 13.0 per game average and was the Kings’ leading scorer in six of his seven seasons (1998-99 to 2002-03 and 2004-05) in Sacramento. Webber averaged 23.5 points (.473 FGs, .238 3FGs, .691 FTs), 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.51 steals and 1.47 blocks per game through 377 contests with the Kings. He is only the sixth player in NBA history to average over 20 points (20.7), nine rebounds (9.8) and four assists (4.2) per game in his career, joining Basketball Hall of Fame members Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor and Billy Cunningham, and current NBA player Kevin Garnett.
“I was very honored and humbled upon receiving the news about my jersey retirement,” Divac said. “For me, this is a pinnacle of my career and it is very special knowing that nobody will ever wear #21 again. I am thankful to the Kings organization, all the Kings fans, my family and all the people who supported me throughout my career. When you take into account all the medals and trophies, at the end of the day when you draw a line, you realize that this act by the Kings completes the circle. I was able to compete on the highest level for the Kings for many years and this news makes me feel amazing and it gives me a great satisfaction. The Sacramento Kings showed great respect to both Chris and I.”
Divac, a 7-1, 265-pound, crafty, skilled center, signed with the Kings as a free agent on January 22, 1999. He played six seasons in Sacramento (1998-99 to 2003-04) and was a 2001 NBA All-Star Game selection. Divac recorded career averages of 13.2 points (.478 FGs, .246 3FGs, .676 FTs), 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.15 blocks per game over 454 outings as a King. He holds a franchise record for the most offensive rebounds in a quarter with seven. Divac ranks 10th in rebounds (3,538) and 5th in blocked shots (523) on the franchise all-time career leaders list. He is one of only three players in NBA history (Abdul-Jabbar and Olajuwon) to amass 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks. Divac was the 1999 recipient of the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given to a player, coach or trainer who shows “outstanding service and dedication to the community”.