Familiar Faces Bring New Vigor to CSN’s Kings Coverage
It’s game day at Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento and Doug Christie has just wrapped up his radio duties for The Grant Napear Show on KHTK. But the day is far from over for the former Sacramento Kings guard.
In fact, it’s just beginning.
Christie makes his way up to the plaza level of the arena where he joins Jim Kozimor at CSN California’s vibrant new set. The veteran TV/radio personality is hard at work, methodically preparing notes for the evening’s game in Sacramento.
Not long after, James Ham joins Christie and Kozimor at the CSN desk. Ham, the network’s Kings insider, arrives at the set from the locker room, where he’s spent pre-game availability surveying the thoughts and perspectives of players ahead of the night’s matchup.
Together, Christie, Kozimor and Ham are the faces of CSN California’s new-look Kings pregame, postgame and halftime shows. Each bring their own take and fill a unique position on the lively television broadcast.
“My job is to be the point guard for both players,” Kozimor said of his role on the program. “Doug’s specialty is knowing what a player will do. My job is to set him up and then if he makes a point, sometimes playfully challenge that point. James - he’s the guy, boots on the ground, reporting what the story is from the locker room perspective because we’re far away from the locker room.”
Fans walking into the Grand Entrance of Golden 1 Center are immediately struck by the grandeur of the new building. They’re also greeted by the lights, camera and action of the CSN California set, which centrally overlooks the Kings new court. When the show is live, fans are afforded the exclusive experience of being part of the program.
“I haven’t seen it at other arenas in this way,” Christie said of the CSN set. “So it’s really nice that when you first come in, this is the first thing that you see and it engages the fans with media.”
Viewers of the show might think fans in the arena only serve as a backdrop for Christie, Kozimor and Ham’s analysis. But in reality, they get so much more. The show’s personalities all enjoy taking a moment out of their days to connect with the fans in attendance.
“We take the time to shake hands, look you in the eye, take pictures, talk to you about your experience with how you see the Kings,” Kozimor said of the interaction with fans. “And many times, you’re the sounding board.”
In year one, the CSN California telecast with Kozimor, Ham and Christie is still in its early stages. But, all three men have enjoyed the ride thus far.
For Kozimor, it’s been fun to return to Kings television after several years out of the market. Through 2009, he previously spent a decade as part of the broadcast team for the Kings and the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs.
“With the new energy behind the arena, I felt that if I was going to come back, now would be the perfect timing,” Kozimor said. “The feeling is things are on the way up and I want to be a part of that energy.”
For Ham, it’s been a wonderful experience to bring his reporting to a television audience. Prior to joining CSN California last season, the self-professed “seeker of knowledge” spent several years cultivating a following among Kings fans at Cowbell Kingdom, part of ESPN’s TrueHoop Network.
“I like to just collect knowledge for myself and my brain,” Ham said of his favorite aspect of the job. “I use it in my writing. I use it in my podcasting. I use it in the broadcast.”
For Christie, being part of the CSN broadcast has been a great opportunity to reconnect with a community that embraced him as a player. He notes that the passion and fire from fans he enjoyed during his days on-the-court are still alive and well.
“Sacramento Kings fans are a different bunch,” Christie said. “The dynamic is just so good because these are some special fans. I’ve only run into one other fan base like this, but this is a special environment and now going from Arco and coming here to Golden 1 Center, this is big time stuff.”
The revamped program is one that strives for excellence while also seeking to have a good time on air. The trio isn’t afraid to be critical when necessary. But they’re also full of smiles and laughs as they work to provide strong insight and entertainment for people glued to their screens.
“I think when you look at our pre and our post, we’re trying to just give you something that you’re not going to get anywhere else,” Ham said. “You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna have a good time. We may say something that completely changes your mood while you’re sitting there getting ready to watch a game that draws your attention back to the TV. That’s what we’re trying to provide.”
Kozimor, Ham and Christie are only in their inaugural season together, but viewers of CSN California’s new-look show aren’t probably noticing any first-year hitches. That’s because the trio has cultivated a chemistry hard to find in the world of broadcast television.
It’s a kind of camaraderie they’re working to cement for years to come.
“I like the fact that we all work as a team,” Kozimor said. “We all pull for the same (goal) and that’s to put on a good show. I love the fun that we have on the show. We’re allowed to have personality and be ourselves. We’re allowed to be fans at some point and I think that goes a pretty long way.”
Catch the show before and after every game online, streaming live on the NBCSports App.