Sacramento Kings player Doug Christie made a special off-the-court appearance December 2 in the classroom of Sacramento County Teacher of the Year 2004 Chris Hoover. Chris Hoover, a teacher of second graders at Taylor Street School in the Robla School District, was saluted by Christie and presented with an autographed basketball.
Dr. David P. Meaney, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools, and Taylor Street School Principal Mary Brewer joined Chris Hoover in welcoming the Kings player to the school. Representatives from Health Net and NECA-IBEW (National Electrical Contractors Association & the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), which partner with the Sacramento Kings to make possible the Kings Teacher Appreciation program, were also present.
In answering the students' questions, Christie acknowledged that as a child he sometimes found it difficult to pay attention in school. He constantly had to remind himself that school was not an obstacle, but a path to success. He told the students, "If you don't do your schoolwork, you can't play basketball." The skills he learned in his school days — doing his best, accepting constructive criticism, and getting along with others — have helped him in his adult life, he said. He pointed out that just like in a school or community, the Sacramento Kings team is comprised of many different people, from different backgrounds and experiences. "But when we all get together, we form a unit. We play as a team, and when we do that we succeed."
Christie, who was accompanied by his wife, Jackie, spoke with the students about the important roles their teachers, school, family, and caring adults play in their lives. "Being around good people" is first and foremost, he said. "Winning is extra." Christie advised the children to always do their best work and to "keep focused. Stay true to what it is you want to do." After he concluded his talk with the students, Christie signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Chris Hoover is one of two local teachers selected as Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2004. Doug Christie will visit the classroom of the other County Teacher of the Year, Denise Phillips of Joseph Sims Elementary School (Elk Grove Unified School District), later during the 2003–04 Kings season.
Christie's school appearances are being made possible through the Sacramento Kings Teacher Appreciation Program. This program has been presented by the Sacramento Kings in conjunction with the Sacramento County Office of Education for 15 years.
All 15 school district Teachers of the Year 2004 in Sacramento County will be recognized in a Kings Teacher Appreciation program presentation during halftime of the Sacramento Kings vs. Seattle SuperSonics NBA game at ARCO Arena, February 3, 2004.