When watching highlights and NBA greatest moments, some fans, especially the younger ones, may not be familiar with the slim guy wearing the No. 13 and playing for the Sacramento Kings in the 2000s.
For those who don’t know, that guy was Doug Christie, a lockdown defender who was often tasked to stop the best shooting guards of his generation.
Doug wants revenge
In recent times, the Kings have not been viewed as contenders. But 20 years ago, Sac-Town dominated the league.
Led by one of the most skilled power forwards at the time, Chris Webber, the Kings were able to form a championship-caliber team by pairing C-Webb with Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby, and Christie. The bench was also deep, with Hedo Turkoglu and Bobby Jackson leading all the subs.
In the 2001/02 season, that team finished the campaign with the best record in the league (61-21). Almost all the predictions from experts came to reality as Sacramento managed to reach the Western Conference Finals, where they faced their arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers.
In retrospect, the Kings appeared to be the better team in that series until the controversial Game 6, in which the officials seemed to have made terrible calls in the most crucial minutes of the game. In the end, the Lakers prevailed and pulled off a pivoting win to tie the series and went on to eliminate the dejected Kings in Game 7.
Fast-track to the present, Christie decided to join the Kings’ coaching staff last summer to avenge their failed championship run in 2002 -- a “hole” in his life that he has been trying to live with for two decades now.
“I always say that I have unfinished business ever since I’ve come back to Sacramento,” Christie said via Kings’ Instagram. “When you get as close as we got to [winning the NBA Championship], it leaves a hole in you. Those things are difficult to live with, and you have to live with them. So for me, to coach this team is everything.”
C-Webb feels the same way
Regardless of what the truth is, what remains a fact is that the Kings still had the chance to beat LA in Game 7. However, even Webber admitted that they weren’t able to move on and lost in the process.
“That's the year we got cheated, I think, in Game 6… The year Robert Horry hit a crazy shot… It was that year… Me and Kobe used to talk about it all the time. That was the team. We should have won the championship, and we didn't because we didn't follow through after being disappointed in Game Six," C-Webb said.
Currently, the Kings are still a work in progress, and Christie seemed aware of it. So let’s see how things will play out for him as he hopes to take what he and the rest of the 2002 Sacramento Kings believe is rightfully theirs.