Christian Laettner (born August 17, 1969 in Angola, New York) was obtained by the Dallas Mavericks on August 29, 2000, in a trade with the Detroit Pistons for Cedric Ceballos, John Wallace, Eric Murdock and cash.
Laettner played his college basketball at Duke and saw his scoring average rise all four seasons from 8.9 ppg his freshman season to 21.5 his senior year. His college career may well be summed up with a highlight that will be shown for years. A game-winning, last-second jump shot that gave the Blue Devils a 104-103 victory against Kentucky in the Eastern Regional Finals of the 1992 NCAA tournament.
Laettner also became known for another incident in the same Duke-Kentucky game. As Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake was lying on the floor after a foul, Laettner intentionally stepped on his chest allegedly in retaliation for a foul earlier in the game.
He holds the NCAA record for most career points scored in the NCAA Tournament with 407. The 6'11 center/forward is also one of only four players (including teammates Greg Koubek and Brian Davis) in NCAA tournament history to play in four consecutive Final Fours, and the only one to ever start in all four Final Fours. He also owns the record for most tournament games played, which may never be beaten (to do so, someone would have to play in four straight Finals).
Duke honored Laettner by retiring his number in 1992 making him only the 13th player in Blue Devil history to enjoy that honor.
A major honor came to Laettner in the summer of '92 when he as selected as a member of the original 'Dream Team', considered to be one of the greatest basketball teams ever assembled. Playing alongside such legends as Bird, Jordan and Magic, he helped Team USA win an Gold medal in the Summer Olympics. Laettner was the only college player chosen for that Dream Team.
Laettner was drafted third overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves after Shaquille O'Neal (1st overall) and Alonzo Mourning (2nd overall) in the 1992 NBA Draft. Playing just over three season with the Wolves, he had the best scoring average of his career as a rookie when he averaged 18.2 ppg and was named to the league's all-rookie first team. He was traded during the 1995-1996 campaign to Atlanta and the following year appeared in all 82 games while posting a career-high in rebounding with 8.8 rebounds-per-game.
He joined the Detroit Pistons to begin the 1998-1999 season but appeared in only 16 games before suffering a torn achilles tendon. He returned the following season, even appearing in all 82 games, but his scoring numbers were never the same.
The Pistons traded Laettner and Terry Mills to Dallas in the summer of 2000. While with the Mavs, he saw action in 53 games while averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. which were the smallest numbers of his career to that point. He was traded during the season, along with Loy Vaught, Courtney Alexander, Hubert Davis, Etan Thomas and cash to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Juwan Howard, Calvin Booth and Obinna Ekezie.
He played with Washington for over three seasons before wrapping up his NBA career in Miami, backing up Shaquille O'Neal, during the 2004-2005 season.
Today, Laettner co-owns the community development company Blue Devil Ventures.