The Kings have missed the playoffs in each of the last 13 seasons. But before that drought began, they were one of the best teams in the NBA.
Back in the early 2000s, the Kings even had a bitter rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers defeated the Kings in seven games in the 2002 Western Conference finals and went on to win the NBA title that season. The following year, the teams met in the preseason and things got chippy between Doug Christie and Lakers forward Rick Fox.
In the latest episode of NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh's "Habershow" podcast which debuted Friday, Christie opened up about what happened on Oct. 25, 2002.
"So there was a lot of venom from the fact that there was a lot of talking going back and forth at that particular time," Christie, who is now an analyst for NBC Sports California, told Haberstroh. "And you know, they had won, and I think when you're competing against someone, you have an idea where you are in the pantheon of that. You know what I mean? And I think they felt us. And I think they might have felt we were a better team than they were. But they won. And they had to the two most dominant players probably of the era at the same time, in their alpha dog prime. So when you win, you usually don't have to say anything, 'I won.' But you're still talking.
"So, when we got to the preseason, you know they had the [Sacramento] Queens things, and Rick would always do little stuff and one of them is he would catch the ball at the pinch post, which is the elbow junction, and he would, as you were coming up -- now it's illegal -- he would pivot into you and hit my thigh. And for me, that's big because I'm moving around a lot. So it was just little stuff and in that particular time, I sold an offensive foul. He hit me and I fell down. So then he threw the ball at me and I caught it, so it didn't really hit me and I caught it. So as I got up, I hit him in the face with the ball all in one motion and that's when he kind of mushed me. As soon as he touched me, I just went 'Bang.' That was it."
Christie and the Kings never were able to get over the hump. That 2001-02 season was their best chance to win an NBA title and the Lakers got in the way.
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The Kings would make it back to the playoffs in each of the next four seasons but never made it out of the second round.
The fight between Christie and Fox will go down as arguably the greatest preseason NBA fight of all time.