Doug Christie

How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie


How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie

Tracy McGrady leaves behind an illustrious 14-season career with accolades including seven NBA All-Star and seven All-NBA selections, a two-time scoring champion as well as a Hall of Fame induction.

McGrady turned 41 on Sunday which was the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane to when he was just a rookie. He talked about how Kings legend Doug Christie played an instrumental role during the infancy of his run.

During a recent interview on “All the Smoke,” McGrady said a big part of his hot start as a rookie with the Toronto Raptors was all thanks in part of the matchups he had with former teammate Christie.

“I love Doug,” McGrady said. “I played Doug on one-on-one every day -- we were just going at each other -- and that’s how I was working on my one-on-one game and building my confidence up because I know he was a great defender, he was a hell of a defender.”

He was.

Christie earned three All-Defensive Second Team honors and was part of the First Team in 2003. McGrady was also one of the most difficult guys to cover -- he owes part of that to Christie. 

He's part of many who recently shouted him out.

[RELATED: Mike Bibby describes tenure with Kings as best time of his life]

For McGrady, he knew going up against one of the best in the game, he would be able to handle anything.

Appears that worked out beautifully. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Karl Malone admits Kings' Chris Webber had 'more talent' than he did

Karl Malone admits Kings' Chris Webber had 'more talent' than he did

Between ESPN’s "The Last Dance" and the need for content during the coronavirus pandemic, NBA legends are coming out of the woodwork.

Media outlets are chasing some of the biggest stars from the 1990s to chat about Michael Jordan, the Bulls dynasty and the Dream Team. Those conversations are opening up even more areas of conversation.

On a recent episode of Barstool's Pardon My Take, legendary NBA power forward Karl Malone stopped in for a video podcast. To call the set up strange would be an understatement.

Malone, sitting shirtless with some sort of dead animal fashioned into a hat in a room filled with big game hunting exploits, gave his opinion on a myriad of subjects. The hosts of the show also chose to remove their shirts, for at least part of the interview.

Like he did during his playing days, Malone threw some elbows in a bizarre Old Spice commercial meets Joe Exotic interview.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Of his many claims, many of which were spot on, Malone listed three fellow power forwards who had more God-given ability than he did, but didn’t quite reach the same level of play.

“I’m going to tell you three guys that had more talent than Karl Malone -- Chris Webber, Derrick Coleman and Charles Barkley,” Malone said. “More talent. More talent. But, they didn’t outwork me.”

Malone began lifting weights during his time at Louisiana Tech. He was an NBA strongman and the use of weight training helped him stay healthy and on the court during his 19-season Hall of Fame career.

“I would never use the term, ‘He was better than me,’” Malone explained. “More talented is different.”

Barkley is already in the Hall of Fame alongside Malone. Coleman was a really good player for about half of his 15 year career, but he never lived up to the billing that came with being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft.

Webber’s career was filled with twists and turns, but like Malone admitted, his talent was undeniable. Webber’s run with the Kings in the late 1990s and early 2000s elevated him to superstar status, although it was short lived due to a catastrophic knee injury during the 2003 NBA playoffs.

Of the players mentioned, Coleman has no chance of making the Hall of Fame due to some personality quirks and the way his game fell off so dramatically at the midway point.

Webber has been passed over during the last few years, but there is no question that he has Hall of Fame credentials.

On the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast, two of Webber’s former teammates in Bobby Jackson and Doug Christie spoke of him as a teammate. Both believe the five-time All-Star is more than deserving of enshrinement into the Hall.

“He set the tone of being unselfish and I think that speaks to who he was even more,” Christie said. “Undoubtedly, in opinion, he’s a Hall of Famer, no doubt.”

With an unselfishness on the court, the Kings were the greatest show on court. They moved the ball with a freedom and creativity that has rarely been matched, and Webber’s skill set fit perfectly into the system.

“For me, I think Chris was way more talented than [Malone],” Jackson said. “I think Karl had a more polished Hall of Fame career.”

“Chris, I think, is one of the most talented big men I’ve ever seen with his ball handling, his shooting, his passing and he was also a great teammate,” Jackson added.

According to Jackson, the team knew that Webber was their leader. During his time in Sacramento, the Kings were a perennial playoff team, making it as far as the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

“I think he is a Hall of Famer, if you look at his numbers, if you look at his career,” Jackson said. “He didn’t win an NBA championship here in Sacramento, but he allowed us the glory and he gave us a gust of wind that we needed to be relevant.”

There was a stretch where the Kings were considered the best team in basketball, but that all came to an abrupt end when Webber took a bad step on May 8, 2003 and needed microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Webber would go on to play parts of five seasons in the league after the injury, but he was never the same player and was forced to retire during the 2007-08 season at the age of 35.

“He couldn’t practice because his knee was inflamed, but man, he would come out and get you 20 and 10 like it was nothing,” Jackson said. “He wasn’t really moving, he didn’t have the explosiveness, but just imagine if he was healthy and he had the lift ... the damage he would have done.”

[RELATED: Mullin recalls Webber dominating Dream Team]

Webber’s career stats clearly state his case for enshrinement. When he retired, he was one of five players in NBA history to average more than 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game. The other four players are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird and Billy Cunningham.

It should be noted that during the Kings’ 35 seasons in Sacramento, they have made the postseason 10 times. Seven of those times, Webber started the season on the roster.

How golden-era Kings have stayed close unlike Michael Jordan's Bulls

How golden-era Kings have stayed close unlike Michael Jordan's Bulls

ESPN’s "The Last Dance" is over, but the 10-part documentary series seems to have stirred up some unresolved feelings amongst Michael Jordan’s former Chicago Bulls teammates.

On nearly a daily basis, there is a new report about someone who is upset. Horace Grant called Jordan a "snitch." Scottie Pippen reportedly is “livid” with his ex-running mate, and poor Scott Burrell might want to read up on "Stockholm syndrome" after the mugging he took during the documentary.

While the Bulls sliced through the NBA like a well-oiled machine, they clearly had issues behind the scenes and the documentary has opened up some old wounds.

Current Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson played against Jordan during his career, and he said this week that other players' perceptions of Jordan ultimately matched the portrayal of him in "The Last Dance."

“Mike didn’t care who he pissed off and who he rubbed the wrong way to win games and come in with a competitive environment every single day,” Jackson said on the latest episode of the "Purple Talk" podcast. “I’ve heard he was a really good teammate, but I’ve heard he could be a really bad teammate also.”

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Basketball teams usually form an interesting family bond. They travel together, spending hours working out and practicing. That often leads to close friendships. To see the Bulls take shots at each other almost 25 years later is uncomfortable to watch, but it has a lot to do with the way their life has now been put on display for so many to see.

Jackson's Kings didn’t have the same success as Jordan's Bulls, but they were a really good basketball team that made eight straight playoff appearances. The core of those squads remains close to this day and many are still associated with the franchise.

Vlade Divac is the general manager. Peja Stojakovic is his assistant GM, and Jackson is part of the coaching staff. Doug Christie works as a color commentator on the team’s broadcast and many of the other Kings from the turn of the century regularly come back to visit.

Was everything perfect during their time together? Absolutely not, but the bonds forged during their time as teammates are still strong to this day. They would push each other in practice to achieve more, but it was with the intention of making one another better.

“I always felt that for me to go at you, to go at Mike [Bibby] -- that’s the way to show your teammate love,” Christie said during the podcast. “Also, I want to know that I ain’t going into no fox hole with no punk. When we get out there, you are going to have my back.”

Chris Webber was the team’s superstar, but the rest of the squad was filled with talented players who seamlessly into coach Rick Adelman’s system. The basketball was beautiful to watch, and the players genuinely liked one other.

“We allowed each other to police each other and hold each other accountable,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t just one guy. I think we had a collected group of guys that held everyone accountable, and we didn’t feel like we were bigger than the team.”

[RELATED: Resume the NBA season? Jackson says Kings players in]

Players from the Kings' golden era often sit together on the sidelines before games. They have inside jokes and poke fun at one another, but they also are incredibly loyal to each other and have built lifelong friendships.

Would Jackson or Christie trade their experience for Jordan’s? Maybe, but they certainly wouldn’t want to give up the friendships they still rely on to this day.