Kayte Christensen-Hunter has been a GAME-CHANGER in the basketball world. She worked hard to achieve much success in prep, collegiate and professional basketball. Currently, Kayte is a member of the Sacramento Kings television media team. She is a crucial part of the pre and post-game show, along with growing in-game commentating opportunities!
Kayte’s journey spans from small-town NorCal roots (shoutout Alturas, CA), NCAA and WNBA standout, and now a growing NBA media career. Did I mention she is a mother as well?
NorCal High School Hoops Legend
Kayte was born in Oregon and played her high school hoops in the rural northern California town of Alturas. During her four years at Modoc high school, Kayte was a three-time league MVP, state champion and was even named 1998 CIF Division V PLAYER OF THE YEAR during her senior season.
As a Chico State Wildcat alumni and former men’s basketball team manager and strength coach … I wonder what Kayte’s best game was in the legendary NorCal hoops mecca, Acker Gymnasium, on the grounds of Chico State.
Among MANY accolades as a high school hooper, one that stuck out to me was that she was named the Double Pump Classic (California All-Star Game) MVP in 1998. Small town high school athletes often have very few opportunites to shine amongst athletes from larger schools, and Kayte did just that when given the opportunity! In high school, she also competed in volleyball and track.
UC Santa Barbara Hoops Legend
Continuing to build upon her elite high school hoops career, Kayte would take her talents to Isla Vista, CA … the home of the University of California, Santa Barbara Gauchos!
During her four seasons of play at UCSB, Kayte helped the Gauchos become one of the best in the west! During the 2001-02 season, Kayte’s senior year, she averaged per game 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals!
In an article by Jorge Mercado titled, Work Hard Play Hard: Kayte’s Journey Beyond College Life and Basketball Stardom at UCSB, Kayte mentioned how those around her helped her be at her best,
“Mark French was a special coach and the whole coaching staff was great,” Christensen said. “I just think my senior year especially was my favorite year just because of the group of people I was with and the human beings that were here and what we accomplished.”
Kayte arguably had her best season for the Gauchos as a senior. She earned All-Big West honors, tied for the Big West lead with nine double-doubles, was twice named conference Player of the Week, as well as established career highs with 23 points, and 16 rebounds, in separate games.
Kayte earned her degree in classical civilizations – classical literature, language, history, and archaeology.
The California college kid in me wonders …. if Kayte ever went to the infamous ‘Freebirds’ late-night college burrito joint after games …?
Kayte Christensen-Hunter WNBA Career
Kayte Christensen-Hunter was selected in the third round (40th overall) of the 2002 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury. Kayte played 6 total seasons in the WNBA with three teams – Phoenix Mercury, Houston Comets and the Chicago Sky.
Kayte, again, made the most of her opportunities! From the Mercado article referenced earlier, “But then I realized I was one of 12 rookies to actually make a roster, even everyone that was selected in the first round [16 players] didn’t make a team, so that’s when I realized how uncommon it was that I wound up in the WNBA and I was able to play a long time.”
Arguably, Kayte’s best season in the WNBA was in 2003, her second year in the league. With the Mercury that season Kayte appeared in 30 games, starting 16 of them. During that season, she averaged per game – 22 minutes, 6.9 points, and 4.2 rebounds.
Kayte is a hard worker! Her bio on the Mercury website describes Christensen as aggressive and describes typical play for her as “diving for loose balls and generally sacrificing her body for the good of the team.”
One random stat that stood out to me, in terms of how the game of basketball has evolved, is that Kayte attempted zero three-point shots during her WNBA career! Would that be the same case if she was playing in today’s hoops landscape?
During WNBA offseasons Kayte competed professionally overseas in South Korea, Turkey, and Greece.
Twice during her career, Kayte was honored with the WNBA Offseason Community Assist award, in 2003 and 2004!
The award winners work with The Sports Envoy program, which sends professional athletes overseas to conduct sports camps and engage in dialogue about important life lessons such as education, leadership, conflict resolution, and respect for diversity.
Sports Media Career
Kayte started her sports media career in 2003, serving as Arizona State Lady Sun Devil basketball radio color commentator. After her WNBA playing career, Kayte started in 2010 as a sideline reporter for the Sacramento Kings. After a brief break with the Kings, Kayte returned in 2013-14 and continuously slangs ELITE level basketball knowledge as the pre and post-game host for the Sacramento Kings! Kayte has also worked with ESPN as a college basketball analyst.
Kayte earned the opportunity to serve as the television color commentator for a Sacramento Kings game during the 2020-21 season! This was not just groundbreaking, but also one of the best Kings broadcasts I listened to ALL season!
Personally, as a Kings fan, I am looking forward to more appearances from Kayte on the Sacramento Kings in-game broadcast team!
I Want YOUR Opinion
Have anything to add about Kayte? Let me know on my TWITTER @sactowncrown
Also, I love asking questions and hearing feedback! So, I often pose POLL QUESTIONS for my Twitter followers to vote on.
Below is one topic which I am really curious to hear about the opinions of Sacramento Kings and NBA fans!