“In the summer of 36-year-old Penny Hardaway signing with the Heat, 37-year-old P.J. Brown being chased by title hopefuls in Phoenix and Dallas and 42-year-old Reggie Miller and 43-year-old Charles Oakley considering comebacks,” writes the Sacramento Bee’s Scott Howard-Cooper, “Doug Christie has firmly placed himself on the Graybeard Express.” Though given who’s waiting for him at home, Christie’s desire to stay employed is totally understandable.
“I know for a fact that I will be back,” Christie said. “I am thoroughly excited. I’ve been working out to make sure I’m ready. I feel fantastic.”
Christie is 37 but feels, in his estimation, 10 or 11 years younger. He said he has two or three more NBA seasons in the body once known for its conditioning and durability. He isn’t looking for a last-gasp chance.
Christie said there have been talks with seven teams, although only two have had “real high interest.” He would not name any of the clubs, only that one of the best chances is in the West and one is in the East. He did say there have been no conversations with the Kings.
The preference is to land with a championship contender, which only makes sense — he gets a shot at a ring, just as it is unlikely a team in building mode would invest minutes in a 37-year-old wing. But it is not a concrete rule for Christie.
If the SuperSonics called, there would be a great appeal to playing in his hometown. If the Kings called, doubtful given the depth they have at shooting guard and small forward, there would be a definite lure to return to a city his family enjoyed. And it was only last season he returned to the familiarity of Los Angeles, after previously playing at Pepperdine and with the Lakers, to join the lottery-bound Clippers.
Or at least he sort of joined the Clippers. Christie signed a 10-day contract, then another, and then bailed on them a few days before the deal expired in a bizarre sequence in which his publicist informed the media before the team.
Christie left after seven appearances worth 82 minutes, 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and 5-of-17 shooting. Six months later, he calls it an amicable departure. Maybe from his standpoint. The Clippers’ front office, though, considered the departure unprofessional and wondered if they hadn’t been used as a publicity stunt by a player trying to drive interest for a reality-TV series and forthcoming book with his wife.
Though the Knicks hardly fit anyone’s definition of a contender, imagine the advantages for all parties if Doug and Jackie were to bring their act back to MSG? Doug can provide the same reluctance to play that Stevie Francise supplied, at a fraction of the cost. And Jackie can serve as the embattled organization’s watchdog, ensuring that no Knicks City Dancers or female Dolanites so much as make eye contact with the
team president players.