Greatest Basketball Players - Christian Laettner - Duke Blue Devils
March 12, 2008
Greatest NCAA College Basketball Careers of All Time: Christian Laettner Born in 1969 in New York, Christian Laettner is probably best known for his game-winning shot in the 1992 NCAA Tournament, however there is a lot more behind his college years as a Duke Blue Devil. Laettner is the only player to start in four consecutive final fours, which led him to the record for most tournament games played. The only way that record would ever be topped was if an individual made it to four straight NCAA finals. As a Blue Devil, Laettner helped lead his team to four final four appearances, thee finals and two NCAA championships. In the NCAA tournament Laettner holds four records (as of 2007) including most points scored at 407, as well as most free throws attempted and made. However, what made Laettnerâ€™s career the most memorable was the dramatic 104-103 win over Kentucky in the 1992 Tournament. In what is hailed by many as the greatest college basketball game ever played, Laettner hit the buzzer-winner thus completing a perfect game. He went 10 for 10 for field goals and 10 for 10 from the free throw line. The praises rolled in. For that year, he earned (from ESPN) the ESPY award for outstanding performance under pressure, College Basketball Play of the Year, Laettner himself was named ESPY Outstanding College Basketball Performer of the Year. As recently as 2007, the play was named the most memorable basketball shot of all-time by the Best Damn Sports Show Period. In 1992, Duke retired Laettnerâ€™s number 32. Through out his years as a Blue Devil he averaged 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds while leading Duke with a staggering 48.5 percent behind the three point line. Off the Duke court, Laettner was the only college player on the original U.S.A. dream team at the 1992 Olympics where he suited up next to the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. In the NBA, Laettner was drafted by Minnesota third overall only behind future superstars Shaquille Oâ€™Neal and Alonzo Mourning. Laettner never developed into the star that many expected him to after his impressive college career, however he was a solid addition to many teams during his 13 year NBA career.