Doug Christie Details Infamous Punch

Doug Christie opens up about the notorious fight in 2002 between Sacramento and Los Angeles.
by Jordan Ramirez
Digital Managing Editor

Oct. 25, 2002.

On a normally unassuming night of preseason NBA action, two heated rivals faced off and once again, took the sports world by storm.

No, not because of a particular play or even the outcome of said game, but a shot — more specifically, a punch — in the direction of Rick Fox thrown by Doug Christie.

It’s a play you’ve seen live, on YouTube or even in GIF form: No. 13 lands an uppercut to the Lakers forward, sparking a memorable moment in the rivalry’s history.

This week, Christie joined NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh's "Habershow" podcast to discuss the infamous moment that October evening.

“There was a lot of venom from the fact that there was a lot of talking going back and forth at that particular time,” said Christie. “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.”

No. 13 continued, “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.”

As for the actual game, Sacramento topped Los Angeles 93-88, but that was hardly the story after the game.

“When we got to the preseason, you know they had the [Sacramento] Queens things,” continued Christie. “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.”

The rivalry continues to this day, with the next matchup between them coming at Golden 1 Center on Feb. 1.

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