The Kings have hired veteran broadcaster Jim Gray to replace Kayte Christensen as the team's sideline reporter. According to a release, Gray will work 20 home games in the 2010-11 season. The move was announced this afternoon, though the Kings' release does not mention Christensen. I am told she will not return as a Kings employee next season, however.
(This is not satire. There are no cows in the background, nor do you see Jon Brockman's face in a tall stack. Memo to Eric Fisher: this is for real.)
Christensen was, if I may, fantastic in her two seasons on the Kings' sidelines. I know she has fans for chauvinistic reasons, but she was, in my opinion, a legitimately talented reporter and analyst. Gray has buckets of experience with NBC, ABC, ESPN, Showtime and The Golf Channel. But he has no prior ties to Sacramento or the Kings, and his (second) most notorious claim to fame is being a Kobe Bryant sympathesizer, both before and after the Colorado saga. Kobe Love doesn't play well in Sacramento, to say the least. (Not to mention the optics of it, supposing the team does not, in fact, land LeBron James in July. "Kings spend big on broadcast team, ignore product on court." I'm not saying that'd be fair -- it wouldn't be -- but you try to argue with the talk radio callers and newspaper website commenters.)
I was somewhere between speechless and exclamatory when I found out, but now I'm just sort-of ... what?
Best wishes to Kayte C., who will no doubt be the next Doris Burke. Sacramento will miss you.