I managed to be among the media members who had the chance to catch up with former Kings guard Doug Christie.
Christie was at Power Balance Pavilion for press conference for the Kings Team Ambassador program which aims to have "community leaders committed to assisting the Kings with their mission of strengthening the bond between the team and the Sacramento community."
Sacramento remains a special place for Christie. It's where he solidified his reputation as a tough defender and solid NBA player (folks tend not to notice those traits when you're on a losing team).
Christie touched on a few topics:
On if growing up in Seattle made wanting to keep the Kings in Sacramento even more important:
"I grew up a Sonics and then they gotrid of Gus Williams and all those guys and I was a Magic Johnson fan so I became a Laker fan. But I always was a Seattle Super Sonic fan. And when it came that they were even thinking about moving in my neighborhood people were like 'What is going on?' And when they actually moved, to watch the people and understand what it truly meant to the city, there's a big void there right now. And there are some bitter people and I can understand."
"When I saw this happen I have an even bigger vested interest because at a professional level I came here and gave my heart and soul and it was reciprocated with the fans. I was just like oh hell no. That's when I said anything I can do (to help I would). "Maybe if would have won the championship it wouldn't have felt as bad but it still would have been terrible so that would be the wrong thing. If you go around the NBA this is a special environment and you don't' get many of them...the fans support the team and they become part of the team and that's what I felt when I was here. It wasn't just us, it was everybody. And they took it just as hard when we lost Game 7 (of the Western Conference Finals) as we did."
On hearing about the retirement of Shaquille O'Neal:
"I was sad because I know he wanted to play two years and get to that 20th, it sounded like that was his goal. But Shaq was such a fantastic player. I was lucky enough to play against Michael Jordan, played against Magic, played against Shaq, such an incredible talent, such an incredible player."
"Shaq was so great right before (the boom of social media) and everyone didn't get to see him. There were some highlights on ESPN when he was breaking the baskets, imagine if somebody broke the basket today how global that would be? He was just super, super strong. I remember going down trying to hit the ball out of his hands and instead of hitting it I chose to use my fist and I hear 'bam' and the ball didn't move and I was just like man, what is going on?"
Fox also touched on his scuffle with Lakers forward Rick Fox that probably means he still doesn't have to pay for a meal in Sacramento. Christie said he hasn't spoken to Fox in the years since but doesn't appear to harbor any ill will.
Christie said he hasn't crossed paths with Fox living in Los Angeles.
"For his team he was making a stand and he understood for my team I was making a stand. And when you're professionals you understand that as professionals that part of what you do."
Christie, however, doesn't puff his chest out about landing that punch.
"It was unfortunate because I have children and I tell them when I teach my players now you have to watch your emotional content....you can't think about yourself all the team. You've got to think about your team."
Now onto today's pre-draft workout and other draft notes:
*Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight had an individual workout today for the Kings. It would be a shock if Knight was available at No. 7 for the Kings but stranger things have happened in the draft.
Knight said he will workout for Toronto next week. The Raptors select fifth and it is unlikely Knight would get past the Raptors.
Knight showed a knack for being a leader in his only season at Kentucky. He credits coach John Calipari with helping him become more of a leader.
"(Calipari) forced me to talk to guys," Knight said. "When I wasn't talking he'd stop practice and say 'Brandon you're not talking, you're letting your team down, you're being selfish.'"
Knight said he isn't sure how he'd play with Tyreke Evans if he were a King but said he has played off the ball at times and would adjust to whatever the team needs.
*Next week's workout figures to be fun. The day hasn't been confirmed but the Kings will host Connecticut's Kemba Walker and BYU's Jimmer Fredette in a workout.
Both were prolific scorers in college and both would be asked to score and facilitate with the Kings. Walker became a big-time scorer as a junior and led the Huskies to an NCAA Championship.
Fredette might have the most shooting range of any prospect.
Unlike Knight, Walker and Fredette are expected to be available when the Kings select in the first round.
*The Kings will host a pre-draft workout with six prospects Saturday:
Isaiah Thomas, G, Washington
Justin Holiday, F, Washington
Talor Battle, G, Penn State
Jimmy Butler, G/F Marquette
Jeremy Hazell, F, Seton Hall
Delroy James, F, Rhode Island
All are players the Kings could consider using a second-round pick on. The Kings have two (35th and 60th overall).