Well, I dont really hate him. It just happens to be the title of an ESPN special that I was fortunate enough to catch on Netflix. I remember Christian Laettner as the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft. I was young and did not watch college basketball when he was drafted. I only knew him as the guy with the mushroom haircut sitting on the bridge above.
Christian Laettner was well known for being the best player in Duke history. He holds many records and shined as a superstar when needed. Laettner led Duke to two titles.
Growing up Christian Laettner was tall and excelled in basketball. He was also very tough. This special shows a high school basketball game in which Christian Laettner started a brawl. Moving on to college his attitude wasn’t much different. The documentary shows him constantly harassing Bobby Hurley, a fellow Duke teammate. It doesn’t help that Duke is one of the most hated college basketball teams.
In one college playoff game Christian Laettner was perfect from the line and perfect from the field. He also hit the game winning shot with seconds left to play. This was after a perfect cross court pass from Grant Hill. The fans of the other teams were outraged. Earlier in that game Laettner stomped on Imanu Timberlake’s chest. The fans believed Christian Laettner should have been thrown out of that game.
Rumors began to fly that Christian Laettner was gay after he gave an interview in college. People were questioning his relationship with Brian Davis. The article showed Christian Laettner sitting close to Brian Davis while holding a cute little kitten. In basketball games that followed the opposing fans would throw gay slurs at Laettner.
Jalen Rose was commentating in this documentary. He confirmed his hatred towards Christian Laettner as well. Rose was part of the Fab 5 from Michigan. This team included Chris Weber. Michigan played Duke in Laettner’s last NCAA finals in 1992. With everything going on outside of basketball, Christian Laettner had an awful first half. Duke kept the score close because they were a great team. Bobby Hurley started antagonizing Laettner. In the 2nd half Christian Laettner came out with a vengeance. Duke destroyed Michigan to win their 2nd title with Christian Laettner.
Christian Laettner was the only individual in the 1992 NBA draft invited to play with the Dream Team. The greatest team ever assembled. They represented the United States basketball team in the 1992 Olympics. Unfortunately, his NBA career didn’t amount to much. He didn’t adjust to the NBA as well as he played in college. Also, the coaches couldn’t adjust to him as well as Mike Krzyzewski.
As all the other ESPN 30 for 30s a great documentary. Watch it on Netflix or try to catch it on ESPN.