Earlier in the week, we brought you a one-on-one interview with Sacramento Kings fan favorite Scot Pollard. Today, we have former Kings shooting guard Doug Christie on tap. Like Pollard, Christie was in Sacramento last week as part of the team’s legends series celebrating 30 years of basketball in the capital city.
During his four and half seasons with the Kings, Christie was known as a tenacious defender and the team’s primary answer for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant. Perhaps no play symbolizes the Kings’ tremendous eight-year playoff run during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s or their fierce rivalry with the Lakers more than Christie’s upper cut to the jaw of Rick Fox.
Like Pollard, Christie is not a legend of the game, but he holds a special place in the hearts of Sacramento Kings fans. Here is a quick conversation with the passionate and intense Doug Christie.
CK: How special is it to get this group together, even if it’s only two or three of you at a time?
DC: It’s absolutely one of the most favorite things that I do. Whenever I come to Sacramento, I think Scot (Pollard) said it, you just feel special. From the day that I was traded from Toronto and I got here, the people have embraced me and been totally incredible. Playing with my teammates and being able to sit with them and talk to them and find out what they are doing in their lives, talk about old time – I miss playing, but even more than playing, I miss sitting with these guys and talking to them. We would talk about life, about basketball and it was totally enjoyable.
CK: How did you guys build that chemistry? Because this team here has struggled with chemistry over the last decade since your team broke up. How do you build that camaraderie?
DC: You’ve got to trust each other. You’ve got to play for each other. You have to push each other. Because how you get chemistry, is you’ve got to push the envelope with each other, see who you are, find out what type of character a person has, go at them at practice, make them work hard, make them better as an individual and as a teammate. That’s how growth begins to start. It takes time.
Ours happened pretty fast and that’s why I say sometimes, ‘It’s was like lightning in a bottle.’ They got a bunch of guys together, who if you looked at us on paper, you would go, ‘Oh, whatever.’ But as soon as we hit the court, there was a willingness to play with and for each other. We knew that if we screened for each other, guys would find us. We were going to play to your strengths. It’s tough to build chemistry, but at the same time, if you really want it, it can happen.
CK: You look at a young guy like Ben McLemore, how much would you like to get your hands him and mold him, especially on the defensive end?
DC: You know, I see Ben Mac and there are a lot of players I wish I could just sit down and talk to. But with him, he has so much to give because he is so athletic and so dynamic. He, in my opinion, hasn’t even scratched the surface. He’s such a good shooter and you rarely see a shooter that is that athletic in the same body. He shoots the ball so well and at the same time, he can go by and dunk on the whole team. Sometimes he settles for jumpers.
Defensively, he can dominate a player because he can recover with his athleticism if he learns to be in the right place, in the right position, use his hands. And he’s made a jump from last year to this year. Not just offensively, but also defensively. I’ve seen him play some awesome defense so the sky is the limit for him. And I just hope and pray to watch him to continue to grow as a player and as a person.