Kings Q&A: Kayte Christensen
By: Alex Kramers
The sideline reporter for Kings TV dishes on returning to the team, her respect for Kings fans and much more.
After a three-year stint as a Kings analyst and sideline reporter from 2007 to 2010, Kayte Christensen returns to Sacramento excited for a new chapter with the organization.
"It's great to be back," she says. "I really loved my job (the last time I was here), loved what I was doing, loved the people I was working with and the fans are so great."
In addition to serving as an ESPN women's basketball color analyst, the former WNBA standout has gained a wide range of broadcast and digital media experience as the Phoenix Suns social media correspondent and AZ Central Sports social media engagement producer.
In a recent Q&A with Kings.com, Christensen discussed her role with the Kings, excitement about the new era in Sacramento and much more.
Looking back on your previous tenure with the Kings, how much did you enjoy your time with the team and what are some of your favorite memories?
"I had so much fun doing the job, I don't even know that it counts as working! One of my favorite things we did was our pre-, half and postgame show, which was called 'House Party Live.' I worked with Jim Kozimor, who was our host, Henry Turner and Fat Lever, and we really had so much fun. It was just hanging out and talking basketball, but it was our job and it was a blast!
"I think the (games) that always stick out – because it's a big deal for Kings fans – are whenever the Kings were able to beat the Lakers. It was a team that was rebuilding, (so) anytime they were able to (defeat) the Lakers, it was pretty exciting and the atmosphere in the arena was awesome. (The Kings) had their number, so it was fun."
How excited are you to be a part of the organization's new era?
"I'm very excited. I've been following (team news) the whole time. The ('Playing to Win' Tour) RV came and stayed in my driveway on its cross-country trip. When the Kings came to (Phoenix), there were Kings fans who went to the Suns game, and I stopped and talked with them and hung out for a while. The fans care so much about the team, so I was really hoping they'd stay in Sacramento."
How has being a former professional basketball player helped you in your broadcasting career?
"What it does is, it makes it feel like it's not a career. You have knowledge a lot of people don't have and you have an experience you can't study – I've played for my whole life and learned the game. I think most importantly, it just gives you credibility – people trust you. What's great about it is, immediately because of my playing experience and my past career in the WNBA and college basketball and so on, I think people automatically (believe), 'She knows what she's talking about.'
"When I first took the job with the Kings back in 2007, I was as an analyst for the pre-, half and postgame TV show, (so it was) interesting to bring a woman into an NBA setting and ask her to analyze and go back and forth with men and talk about basketball. I had so many women who'd come up to me (and say), 'I've learned so much from just listening to you talk about basketball, whether it's on the radio or on the show,' so I think I've given fans a way to understand the game a little bit differently and from a player perspective."
Who've been some of your role models throughout your broadcasting career?
"I really like Doris Burke – she's had a lot of different hats on, but as an analyst, I enjoy listening to her. She's one of the busiest people in broadcasting – there was a time when she did a men's college game one night, flew from there to do a Warriors game in the Bay Area and then went from there to do a women's college basketball game at Baylor! Doug Collins is also one of my favorite analysts – it's hard to say if he's better at broadcasting or coaching even.
"When I first came to Sacramento, I had no broadcasting experience – they threw me on a set with Jim Kozimor, and he made it extremely easy to develop my personality as a broadcaster, so I would say he has to be one (of my role models). He taught me what to do and made it easy, so I have to give credit to him."
How would you characterize yourself off the court?
(Laughs) "I don't think I've ever gotten out of the mentality I'm not in the locker room. I joke around a lot.
"I grew up on a cattle ranch in California, so there isn't anything that I was not raised to do by myself. I enjoy doing my yard work, I build and refurbish furniture – which is really weird to say. I'm very task-oriented, I like to be busy and I like to do things.
"One of my best friends from Sacramento is Carmichael Dave, so I think just hanging out with him is really nice. I think fans might be shocked at who I am off the floor because there are a lot of different layers there."
What kind of message would you like to share with Kings fans?
"I think the one thing I would like to say to Kings fans is, I take my hat off to them. They've stuck by this team through the glory years with Chris Webber and Mike Bibby, and some tough times … I'm extremely happy for them and proud of them that they fought so hard to keep the team they've loved for so long."