Christian Donald Laettner (/ˈleɪtnər/, LAYT-nər; born August 17, 1969) is a retired American basketball player whose Hall of Fame career for the Duke Blue Devils is widely regarded as one of the best in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history.[a] He was the star player on the back-to-back National Championship teams of 1991 and 1992, and the NCAA player of the year in his senior year. He is particularly famous for his game-winning shot against Kentucky in the 1992 tournament and for the hatred he received from opposing fans.
Laettner was the only collegian selected for the elite "Dream Team" that dominated the 1992 Olympics; the team is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was drafted third overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, then played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for six teams. The highlight was being selected for the 1997 All-Star Game while with the Atlanta Hawks.
Laettner in 2014
|Born||August 17, 1969|
Angola, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Nichols School (Buffalo, New York)|
|NBA draft||1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall|
|Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Playing career||1992–2005, 2011–2012|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|Number||4, 32, 44|
|2012||Fort Wayne Mad Ants (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||11,121 (12.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,806 (6.7 rpg)|
|Assists||2,224 (2.6 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2010
Christian Laettner was born and raised in Angola, New York (near Buffalo and Niagara Falls) to a blue-collar Roman Catholic family. His father George was of Polish descent and his grandparents spoke Polish as their first language. Christian's older brother Christopher was a strong influence, often bullying young Christian, which helped instill a stern competitive drive. Both boys also frequently worked as farm laborers to supplement their allowance.
Laettner attended the private Nichols School; although he received a financial aid package that paid a substantial part of his tuition, his family had to sacrifice to send him there, and he also did janitorial work at the school to defray some of the cost.[b] During his career he scored over 2,000 points, setting the school record, and the team won two state titles and reached another semifinal. He was a much sought-after college recruit.[c]
Laettner attended Duke University and played for the basketball team from 1988–92 under coach Mike Krzyzewski. As the team's star player his final two seasons, he led the Blue Devils to the first two national titles in school history.[d] A four-year starter, he also contributed to their runner-up finish his sophomore year and Final Four appearance in his freshman year.[e] Thus, in total, he played 23 out of a maximum possible 24 NCAA tournament games, winning 21; both are records.
For his career, Laettner averaged 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while making almost half of his three-pointers. He scored 21.5 points per game his senior season, garnering every major national player of the year award; Duke retired his No. 32 jersey later that year. His career is widely regarded among the best in college history,[a] and he is enshrined in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Laettner had several clutch performances in the NCAA tournament. His most famous was the 1992 regional final against Kentucky, which was foreshadowed by the 1990 regional final against UConn; in both games Duke trailed by one point with two seconds remaining in overtime before Laettner swished a jumper as time expired. He also swished the game-winning free throws against undefeated and heavily-favored UNLV in the 1991 semifinal, which avenged UNLV's 30 point victory in the 1990 final. He then led Duke to its first championship, defeating Kansas in the final, and was selected as the tournament's most outstanding player.
Laettner is especially known for his game-winning, buzzer-beating, turn-around jumper[f] in the intensely competitive 1992 East Regional Final, a game many critics rate among the greatest in college basketball history. He was in rarefied form throughout, shooting a perfect ten of ten field goals and ten of ten free throws for 31 points. He then finished his college career by leading Duke to its second consecutive national title. The following year ESPN awarded him both "Outstanding Performance Under Pressure" and "College Basketball Play of the Year" for the Kentucky game, also awarding him "Outstanding College Basketball Performer of the Year".
The game-winning shot against Kentucky became a cultural icon, having been frequently televised in college basketball montages. Several companies have also featured it in their commercials.[g] In 2006 The Best Damn Sports Show Period ranked it the fifth most memorable moment in sports history.
Laettner was widely reviled by opposing fans throughout his career, to the extent that more than 20 years after graduating from Duke, he was voted the most hated college basketball player in history in an ESPN online poll. This led to ESPN's creation of the 30 for 30 documentary I Hate Christian Laettner that explored five factors which the filmmakers believe explain this widespread and persistent hatred: privilege, race, bullying, greatness, and physical appearance. He was particularly resented for stepping on the chest of Kentucky player Aminu Timberlake during the 1992 regional final, which the referees deemed a technical foul; Laettner expressed regret for his misconduct but believed that ejection would have been too harsh a consequence.
As the national player of the year, Laettner was the only collegian selected for the prestigious "Dream Team" that won the 1992 Olympic gold medal in dominant fashion. He averaged 4.8 points per game. The team is considered one of the greatest in sports history and was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, FIBA Hall of Fame, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Drafted third overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves,[h] Laettner played 13 years in the NBA, from 1992–2005, scoring 11,121 points and grabbing 5,806 rebounds. His first six seasons were his best, averaging 16.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while starting almost all of them. He also was selected to the All-Rookie First Team in 1993 and the All-Star Game in 1997 while with the Atlanta Hawks. His time on the Hawks was his most successful NBA team experience, twice reaching the second round of the playoffs.
Despite his achievements, Laettner's NBA career was characterized by transience. He played for six different teams, was traded six times, and never spent more than three full seasons anywhere. In 2004, he was suspended several games for using marijuana.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Laettner maintains a close friendship with Duke teammate Brian Davis. They have pursued several business ventures together, including real-estate development in Durham, a Major League Soccer team, and an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies. Some legal problems have also occurred.
The 1990–91 Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team was a Division I college basketball team that competed in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team brought to Duke their first national championship when they defeated Kansas 72–65. Duke would win the championship again the following year, making Duke the first team since UCLA in 1973 to win back-to-back titles.1991 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
The 1991 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 14, 1991, and ended with the championship game on April 1 in Indianapolis, Indiana. A total of 63 games were played.
Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, won a rematch of the previous year's national final matchup against undefeated UNLV 79–77 in the semifinal, then won the national title with a 72–65 victory in the final game over Kansas, coached by Roy Williams. This was the first National Championship game for Williams as a head coach. Kansas defeated Williams' mentor Dean Smith and North Carolina (where Williams now coaches) in the semifinal. Kansas made its second trip to the National Championship game in four seasons, the prior appearance being 1988 when they defeated Oklahoma. Christian Laettner of Duke was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
This tournament adopted the NBA's 10ths-second timer during the final minute of each period in all arenas.1991 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The Consensus 1991 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The United Press International and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.1991–92 Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team
The 1991–92 Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team was a Division I college basketball team that competed in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Led by All-American Christian Laettner and Grant Hill, Duke won its 2nd national championship in as many years to become the first repeating team since UCLA's seven-year dynasty from 1967 to 1973. The feat would not be accomplished again in college basketball until the Florida Gators did it in 2007.1991–92 NCAA Division I men's basketball season
The 1991–92 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began in November 1991 and ended with the Final Four at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 6, 1992.1992 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament
The 1992 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the second Charlotte Coliseum. Duke won the tournament, defeating North Carolina, 94–74, in the championship game. Christian Laettner of Duke was named tournament MVP. Florida State played in the ACC Tournament for the first time. The expansion to nine teams forced the addition of what would eventually become known as the "Les Robinson Invitational" because of NC State's multiple appearances in the Thursday game under coach Les Robinson. The 1992 tournament was the only time under Robinson the Wolfpack did not participate in the new "first-round" game.1992 NBA draft
The 1992 NBA draft took place on June 24, 1992, in Portland, Oregon. At the time, the draft was considered to be one of the deepest drafts in NBA history. The top three picks (Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Christian Laettner) were considered can't-miss prospects. O'Neal and Mourning are Hall of Famers. Laettner made one All-Star game in his career and was an Olympic Gold Medalist on the 1992 Dream Team, but did not live up to the lofty expectations set for him. All three would end up playing together on the 2005 Miami Heat. Two other players went on to become All-Stars (Tom Gugliotta once, Latrell Sprewell four times) and several others had solid careers (Jimmy Jackson, Robert Horry, Doug Christie, P.J. Brown, LaPhonso Ellis, Jon Barry, Walt Williams, Anthony Peeler, and Clarence Weatherspoon). Harold Miner, who was given the nickname "Baby Jordan" because of his similarities to Michael Jordan, slipped to number 12 and, other than winning two slam dunk contests, only had a brief, uneventful, and injury prone four-year career.1992 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
The 1992 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 19, 1992, and ended with the championship game on April 6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A total of 63 games were played.
Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, defeated the Michigan Wolverines, coached by Steve Fisher, 71–51 to claim their second consecutive national championship. Bobby Hurley of Duke was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Michigan subsequently vacated its final two tournament games as part of the University of Michigan basketball scandal.
This tournament is best remembered for the East regional final pitting Duke and Kentucky at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. With 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime, Duke trailed 103–102. Grant Hill threw a pass the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who dribbled once, turned, and hit a jumper as time expired for the 104–103 win. Sports Illustrated deemed it the greatest college basketball game of all time, and ESPN ranked it No. 17 among the top 100 sports moments of the past 25 years (see ESPN25). In 2002, USA Today ranked it the greatest NCAA tournament game of all time.The tournament also saw dark horse Cincinnati crash the Final Four and return to national prominence.1992 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The Consensus 1992 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The United Press International and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.1992–93 Minnesota Timberwolves season
The 1992–93 NBA season was the Timberwolves' 4th season in the National Basketball Association. In the 1992 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected Christian Laettner out of Duke University with the third pick. In the offseason, they acquired Chuck Person and Michael Williams from the Indiana Pacers. Laettner had a solid rookie season averaging 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, while being selected to the All-Rookie First Team. Doug West continued to increase his scoring leading the team with 19.3 points per game. However, the T-Wolves continued to struggle as head coach Jimmy Rodgers was fired after a 6–23 start to the season. Under his replacement Sidney Lowe, the team suffered a 12-game losing streak in April, finishing fifth in the Midwest Division with a 19–63 record. Following the season, Felton Spencer was traded to the Utah Jazz.
In the final game of the season against the Jazz, Williams set an NBA record of 84 consecutive free throws surpassing Calvin Murphy, whose record was 78 back in 1981. The Timberwolves defeated the Jazz 113–111.1999–2000 Detroit Pistons season
The 1999–2000 NBA season was the Pistons' 52nd season in the National Basketball Association, and 43rd season in the city of Detroit. During the offseason, the Pistons re-signed free agents Terry Mills and Michael Curry. After the retirement of Joe Dumars, the Pistons were now led by Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse as they provided a 1-2 scoring punch, and were both selected for the 2000 NBA All-Star Game. However, as the season wounded down, Hill suffered a devastating ankle injury. Head coach Alvin Gentry was fired after a 28–30 start, and was replaced with George Irvine as the Pistons finished fourth in the Central Division with a 42–40 record. In the first round of the playoffs, they were swept by the Miami Heat in three straight games. Following the season, Hill was traded to the Orlando Magic, Lindsey Hunter was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, Christian Laettner was dealt along with Loy Vaught to the Dallas Mavericks, and Mills signed as a free agent with the Indiana Pacers.
For the season, the Pistons added maroon alternate road uniforms which lasted until 2001.Aminu Timberlake
Aminu Timberlake (born 1973) is an American basketball player who played in the NCAA with Kentucky Wildcats as a freshman, after having played in De LaSalle in his high school years.
After Kentucky, the 6'10" forward transferred in his sophomore year to Southern Illinois University. Upon graduation in 1995, Timberlake played professionally overseas for five years, in National Basketball leagues in Australia, New Zealand, China and in his final season 1998-1999 in the South Korea Basketball League in the LG Sakers before retiring from professional basketball.D.C. United Holdings
D.C. United Holdings is the holding company that controls operating rights to D.C. United, a professional soccer club that is part of Major League Soccer (MLS). The company, founded in 2007, was initially led by William H.C. Chang (chairman of Westlake International Group), Brian Davis and Christian Laettner (co-managers of Blue Devil Ventures), and Kevin Payne (president of D.C. United) who maintained his position with the new investors. At the time of formation, D.C. United Holdings was also interested in adding Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks, also the founder of the now-defunct Women's United Soccer Association, to the "majority-minority" group. Brian Davis and former owner Victor MacFarlane were the first African-American owners in MLS; William H.C. Chang is the first Asian-American. D.C. United Holdings bought D.C. United from Anschutz Entertainment Group for $33 million, a record fee for operational rights to an MLS club. The group is pursuing a soccer-specific stadium for D.C. United in the Washington area.
On May 21, 2009, previous stakeholder Victor MacFarlane announced the sale of his share of D.C. United Holdings to majority owner William Chang, giving him a 98% stake in the organization. On October 21, 2009, Chang bought out Davis and Laettner, who held the remaining 2%, to fully control 100% of the team.In 2012, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien purchased the club and its holding company, with Chang remaining as a minority investor. Their efforts are primarily focused on getting United a new stadium and enhancing the four-time MLS champions' global profile.I Hate Christian Laettner
I Hate Christian Laettner is a 2015 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary examining the love/hate relationship of Duke basketball player Christian Laettner. It is narrated by Rob Lowe and directed by Rory Karpf.List of U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards
This article lists U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards. Several different organizations sponsor an award for the nation's top player.Michael Heisley
Michael E. Heisley (March 13, 1937 – April 26, 2014) was an American businessman and former majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. He orchestrated the move of the team from Vancouver in 2001, after promising to keep the franchise in Vancouver when he purchased it in 2000. He agreed in 2006 to sell his 70% controlling stake in the Grizzlies to a consortium including Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, but the group missed a deadline for the purchase and Heisley found no other bidder willing to meet the team's $300M asking price.In 2012 Heisley decided to sell the Grizzlies and step aside from all of his corporate interests due to his advancing age. The team announced on June 11, 2012, that Ubiquiti Networks founder Robert J. Pera would be purchasing the team, but Heisley will remain on board until the sale is finalized. The sale was finalized on October 25, 2012, and the team is now part Memphis Basketball, LLC.Heisley was also involved in multiple business ventures, such as:
Heico Holding, Inc.
The Heico Companies, LLC
Stony Lane Partners A computer salesman by trade, he used $150,000 from selling his home and $10 million in bank loans to acquire Conco, maker of sewer and drain equipment. Later Heisley expanded his holdings through the purchase of several near-bankrupt Rust Belt manufacturers. As of 2009, Heico operates 40 companies, largely in steel, construction, and equipment.
He appeared several times on the Forbes rich list.Minnesota Timberwolves accomplishments and records
This page details the all-time statistics, records, and other achievements pertaining to the Minnesota Timberwolves.The Shot (Duke–Kentucky)
The 1992 NCAA Tournament was highlighted by a game between Duke and Kentucky in the East Regional Final to determine the final spot in the Final Four. With 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime, defending national champion Duke trailed 103–102. Grant Hill threw a pass the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who faked right, dribbled once, turned, and hit a jumper as time expired for the 104–103 win. In 2004 Sports Illustrated deemed it the greatest college basketball game of all time, and ESPN included it as number 17 on its list of top 100 sports moments of the past 25 years (see ESPN25). It is ranked number one on the list of the greatest NCAA tournament games of all time compiled by USA Today in 2002.Thomas Hill (basketball)
Thomas Lionel Hill Jr. (born August 31, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player.
A 6'5" shooting guard, Hill played at Duke University from 1989 to 1993, winning two NCAA Championships (1991 and 1992). His teammates at Duke included Grant Hill (no relation), Christian Laettner, and Bobby Hurley. Thomas Hill received Third Team All-ACC honors in 1991,1992, 1993 and was a team captain during his senior season.He played in 141 career games for Duke, 6th on their all-time list as of March 28, 2010; directly behind Jon Scheyer, and tied with Brian Davis.After graduating, Hill was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 2nd round (#39 pick overall) of the 1993 NBA Draft. Hill never played an NBA regular season game but he did play in some preseason games where he scored a high of 14. He played in the Australian National Basketball League for the Perth Wildcats.Thomas Hill's father, Thomas Sr., won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Hill is perhaps best remembered for his emotional reaction after his Duke teammate Christian Laettner hit a last second shot to defeat Kentucky in the elite eight of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. After Laettner hit the shot, a CBS camera panned to Hill who appeared to be crying of joy with his hands on top of his head.
After his basketball career Hill proceeded to coach for Avenues: The World School in New York City and currently coaches varsity basketball.