Games & medals
Barcelona 1992 1992
Christian D. LAETTNER biography
Christian Laettner hit the most famous shot in the history of college basketball. A 6-11 (211 cm) power forward / center, Laettner played at Duke University, where he led them to the Final Four all four years of his college career. He also helped them win the NCAA title in both 1991-92, the first college team to repeat as champions since the 1970 heyday of the UCLA Bruins.
After winning the 1991 NCAA title, Duke was favored to repeat in 1992 and was ranked #1 most of the year. In the Elite Eight, they played a tough Kentucky team and the game went into overtime. Trailing 101-100, Kentucky forward Sean Woods hit a shot in the lane to put Kentucky ahead 102-101 and seemingly win the game for the Wildcats, as only 2.1 seconds remained. Duke called time-out, however, and on the inbounds play, Grant Hill threw a near court-length pass to Laettner, who caught it at the top of the key, dribbled twice, turned, and hit an 18-foot turn-around jumper as time expired, giving the Blue Devils the victory, 103-102. The game is usually considered the greatest ever in college basketball, and Laettner’s shot has been re-run on television numerous times since 1992.
Laettern was the only collegian chosen for the original US basketball Dream Team that dominated the opposition at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. That, his college success, and his clutch shots, led one basketball writer to dub him one of the two luckiest people to ever live, “along with Ringo Starr.”
After the Olympics, Laettner joined the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA, playing with them from 1992-96. He later played for the Atlanta Hawks (1996-99), Detroit Pistons (1999-2000), Dallas Mavericks (2000-01), Washington Wizards (2001-04), and Miami Heat (2004-05). Laettner had a solid NBA career, making the All-Rookie team in 1993, and the 1997 All-Star Game. He finished with career averages of 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Laettner was an aggressive, some said dirty, player, who was not always well-liked. In fact, in 2015, ESPN produced a 30-for-30 documentary entitled “I Hate Christian Laettner.” Laettner also ran into trouble later in life with investments in Durham, NC, where he went to college. He and college teammate Brian Davis started Blue Devil Ventures (BDV), which attempted to revitalize downtown Durham. It would eventually become very successful, but not initially and Laettner and Davis lost significant amounts of money, which led several investors to sue them.