Christian Laettner

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Christian Donald Laettner (born August 17, 1969 in Angola, New York) is a former professional basketball player who has played 13 seasons in the NBA on six different teams. He started for the 1991 and 1992 NCAA champion Duke University Blue Devils. He is considered one of the greatest collegiate players of all time.

College career Laettner is especially known for his game-winning last-second jump shot in Duke's dramatic 104-103 victory over Kentucky in the East regional final of the 1992 NCAA Tournament, acclaimed by many as the "greatest college basketball game ever played".[2] [3] [4] [5] Footage of Laettner's buzzer beater shot is frequently included in televised montages depicting college basketball and the NCAA tournament, and in 2003 it was used in a nationally televised commercial by Allstate. In the game as a whole, Laettner made ten of ten shots from the field and ten of ten from the free throw line. His performance in the game as a whole earned him a 1993 ESPY Award for "Outstanding Performance Under Pressure", and the shot in particular received the 1993 ESPY for "College Basketball Play of the Year". Laettner also received the 1993 ESPY for "Outstanding College Basketball Performer of the Year". [6]

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 [7] [8] [9] allegedly in retaliation for a foul earlier in the game.

His number #32 jersey was retired 1992, making him the sixth of eleven players so honored by Duke.[10] He averaged 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game at Duke and is the all-time three-point shooting percentage leader at Duke at 48.5%.

Laettner 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 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).

NCAA tournament records Most points scored - 408 Most free throws made - 142 Most free throw attempts - 167 Most games played - 23

Dream Team (1992) Christian was also a member of the original 'Dream Team', considered to be one of the greatest basketball teams ever assembled.[11]. He helped Team USA win an Olympic Gold medal. Laettner was the only college player chosen for that Dream Team.

Professional career 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. During his 13-year nba career he was a member of the Timberwolves, the Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors (though he never played a game for them), and most recently the Miami Heat. He developed into a good NBA player at the center and forward positions, was voted into the all-rookie-team in 1993 and became an all-star in 1997. Yet he never became a superstar as some had expected – in stark contrast to the two centers drafted ahead of him in 1992. After missing most of the 1998-99 season due to an injury, his playing time and numbers declined. He finished his career in 2004-05 backing up Shaquille O'Neal.

Business and philanthropy As a spin off from his NBA career, Laettner had two basketball DVDs released in 2002: Christian Laettner: Power in Motion - Power Forward and AP Sports Basketball Series Vol. 4 Christian Laettner.

Laettner co-owns the community development company Blue Devil Ventures (BDV) with former Duke teammate Brian Davis and Duke alumnus Tom Niemann. Since 1995, BDV has been developing a community in downtown Durham, North Carolina named "West Village." BDV's website describes West Village as a "mixed-use, upscale community consisting of the adaptive-reuse of historic tobacco warehouses built between 1899 and 1926 and located in the Brightleaf District."[12]

In 2001, Laettner donated $1 million to his high school, Nichols School in Buffalo, New York to create a scholarship fund for students in financial need and to aid in the completion of a new gymnasium. [13] In 2005, Laettner and Davis donated $2 million to Duke's men's basketball program to endow an athletic scholarship and support the construction of a planned athletics center and basketball practice facility.[14] Their donation to the Duke Legacy Fund — which seeks to make the Duke basketball program financially self-sufficient — represents the largest donation by former Duke basketball players to the program since Grant Hill endowed a $1 million scholarship in 2000.

In October 2006, an investment group including Laettner and former teammate Brian Davis had agreed to purchase the 70% share of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies from current majority owner, Michael Heisley. Laettner considered coming out of retirement to play with the team. [15] Laettner and Davis are also involved in group negotiating to operate Major League Soccer's D.C. United [16] and Laettner previously joined Jason Kidd and other investors, in the purchase of a AAA baseball team in Phoenix.