Kings

A Prince Among Kings: Jerry Reynolds transitions to new role after 20 years on Kings broadcast

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Sacramento Kings

A Prince Among Kings: Jerry Reynolds transitions to new role after 20 years on Kings broadcast

SACRAMENTO -- The end of the 2017-18 NBA season is upon us, and it comes with some emotional news for Sacramento Kings fans. Legendary broadcaster and former team executive Jerry Reynolds has decided to step away from his full-time position as color analyst for the team.

“I feel like this is the time for me to make a transition in my career. I just don’t feel like I have the interest or the capabilities to be a full-time employee, as much as I’ve enjoyed my time with the Kings,” Reynolds said on The Kings Insider Podcast on NBC Sports California.

Reynolds has worked alongside play-by-play man Grant Napear for the past twenty seasons of Kings basketball. He’s an iconic figure on the Sacramento sports landscape, but at 74 years old, the wear and tear of an 82-game season with an intense travel schedule has taken its toll.
 
“This is strictly my decision,” Reynolds said. “They’ve given me the opportunity to change my mind a couple of times, but I know it’s the right thing. Father Time wins every battle.”
 
According to Reynolds, the team offered him a long-term contract last summer, but he turned it down in lieu of a one-year deal. After thinking it through, he made the difficult decision to walk away from full-time duty, in part because of long-term health concerns.
 
“I am a 20-year diabetic and honestly, the last year was tough on me,” Reynolds said. “I’m not trying to work up a pity contest here, but it was a lot tougher for me to take care of my disease.”
 
In his time with the franchise, Reynolds has been an assistant coach, interim head coach, head coach, general manager, director of player personnel and color analyst. He also headed up the Sacramento Monarchs, who brought home a WNBA Championship in 2005.
 
“As a broadcast partner, I just have been so blessed,” Napear told NBC Sports California. “I can’t adequately put into words what it’s meant to be with him 82 games a year doing NBA basketball. It’s effortless. It’s fun. It’s not work in any capacity.”
 
“He’s just a great person and I consider him a part of my family."
 
An unlikely duo - a New Yorker and and a country boy from French Lick, Indiana - Napear and Reynolds have consistently been considered one of the best broadcast teams in the NBA.
 
“We’re kind of like an old couple,” Reynolds said of Napear. “He’s 100 miles per hour and I’m 20 miles per hour. New York and Indiana. And it kind of works.”
 
With his country charm and flair for coining nicknames, Reynolds helped create a broadcast that is uniquely Sacramento. He’s brought a lighthearted approach to the game through good seasons and bad in Sacramento.
 
“He’s so folksy,” said Gary Gerould, the radio voice of the Kings. “He’s such a people person and he loves to talk basketball. I envy his depth of knowledge and his way of expressing that just makes you smile. He’s unique.”
 
Reynolds isn’t going anywhere. He will continue to be a fixture in the Kings’ family, both on and off the court. He will represent the team in the community and at team functions.
 
The details haven’t been fully settled, but the Kings also expect Reynolds to continue to contribute to game broadcasts and Pre/Post shows on NBC Sports California as well as Kings coverage on Sports 1140 KHTK radio.
 
He has no intention of walking away anytime soon from a loyal fan base that has supported him for the last 33 years, since he came with the team from Kansas City before the 1985-86 season.
 
“I work for the fans and I owe the fans, and I’ll always feel that way,” Reynolds said. “It’s been an honor and a thrill to get to know them, to work for them and I’ll always owe them.”
 
With Reynolds stepping away from his full-time role, the team has pegged former Kings shooting guard Doug Christie as his replacement. Christie has worked 10 games per year alongside Napear over the last three seasons as the team groomed him for the position.
 
“Hopefully my voice is taken in and consumed by our Sacramento Kings fans, and they give me a chance to do me,” Christie said.
 
The pair also work together on the team’s flagship radio station Sports 1140 KHTK, and Christie has been a fixture on NBC Sports California’s pre and postgame shows for the past three years.  
 
There is no replacing Reynolds, but Christie brings a different vibe to the telecast. He adds energy and excitement, and he’s worked hard to improve at his craft. Napear and Christie have had short opportunities to work together, but it will take time to develop the chemistry that fans have become accustomed to on a nightly basis.

“He doesn’t have an ego,” Napear said of Christie. “He’s unbelievably prepared and he knows the game. It’s actually much easier than I thought it would be. He’s not Jerry and I don’t expect him to be Jerry.”
 
“He does his job off the court like he did as a player,” Reynolds said of his successor. “He really prepares, he works hard, he thinks it out. I’m not surprised by any of it. He’ll get better and better. He’s terrific.”
 
It’s tough to step in and replace a legend. Christie won't try to be the next Jerry Reynolds. Instead, he intends to grow into the role and make it his own.
 
After a 15-year NBA career, including four and a half in a Kings uniform, Christie and his family moved back to the Sacramento area in the summer of 2016. He has a passion for the franchise that he helped lead to the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
 
“It’s surreal. At the same time, the affinity I have for the Sacramento Kings - I want to see them do something,” Christie said. “To actually be a part of that is a humbling experience.”
 
The team has planned a video tribute to Reynolds that will play during the season finale against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center. It will be a celebration of a Sacramento legend.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward - Missouri - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 6-foot-10.75 Weight: 211

Stats: 10.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, .3 assists, 1.0 steals, .3 blocks, 30.0% 3-point

Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari, Tracy McGrady

Strengths

Porter is an incredibly gifted scorer that projects as a legitimate number one option at the NBA level. His handles need some work, but he can take opponents off the dribble, rise above defenders in the mid-range and shoot from deep. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position and has the size and athleticism to be an adequate defender.

Weaknesses

Porter underwent back surgery after just two minutes of play during his freshman year at Missouri. He returned late in the season, but was limited to just 53 minutes of play for the Tigers. His shot selection will need work and he weighed in at just 211 pounds at the combine. He’ll need to get stronger and work the kinks out with his back issues if he hopes to fulfill his enormous potential.

Fit

If it wasn’t for the back issues, Porter would be the perfect addition for the Kings. He could start at the small forward position and slide over and player stretch four for stints. Sacramento could use a pure scorer like Porter, but health is a big concern.

Chance of going No. 2

Sacramento would love to take the gamble on Porter, but they’re going to need a clean bill of health. They attended his evaluation day last Friday, which reportedly went well. But with other options on the table, they are going to need assurances that the herniated discs issue was a one time thing.

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

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AP

19-year-old Luka Doncic wants a date with a Friend and...a tiger?

In Europe, Luka Doncic is a star. It appears he would like to be one in the United States as well.

Fresh off a EuroLeague championship, as well as league and Finals MVP honors, the 19-year-old Slovenian-born wing showed a different side of himself in a video made by the folks over at Bleacher Report.

In an interview with Howard Beck, Doncic made a few of his wishes known, including his want for a signature shoe, a date with Jennifer Aniston and the future purchase of...a tiger?

"I just like tigers. I said if I go to U.S., I will buy a tiger—like Mike Tyson," Doncic told Beck.

Sacramento has Doncic on a short list of prospects they are considering with the second overall selection. He has high aspirations, both on and off the court.

It’s hard not to like the confidence and moxie of this prospect. Will he be a King come Thursday evening?