Essential Viewing

I Hate Christian Laettner

What if I told you people hated Christian Laettner?

Well, you’d probably stare back at me dull-faced and proceed to tell me a story of what a terrible guy and player he is.

ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 will release I Hate Christian Laettner next week, which will let everyone keep sipping on that Duke haterade. I imagine this will be one of the most intriguing films that ESPN’s put together, and there have been some great ones.

ESPN released a 30-second trailer for the documentary, which will debut next Sunday, March 15 at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Oh, MAN this is gonna be good. You hear from Laettner once in the trailer, and you can tell he’s still the cocky SOB that made him the great college basketball player he was and the lightning rod for Duke vitriol.

For me, this is an interesting case of sports hatred. I wasn’t even alive for that famous shot (I’m sure a bunch of you feel old now). Living in the Triangle my entire life, I’ve understood why people don’t like J.J. Redick, Jon Scheyer, Austin Rivers, etc. I’ve gleaned through the years that Laettner is probably THE most hated ACC player of all time, but now I’ll really get a chance to find out why. I have a suspicion that Tyler Hansbrough would be a lot closer if he was as outspoken as Laettner was. Laettner seems to thrive on the hate, and that’s actually kind of awesome.

Let’s not forget that whatever you feel about the way he acts, he was a great player, at least in college. He played in four Final Fours and holds the NCAA tournament records for most points scored. That’s absolutely nuts. He played in 23/24 possible NCAA tournament games in his college career.

After winning two championships at Duke, Laettner was drafted third overall in the 1992 NBA draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Again, I’m young so my recollections of Laettner in the NBA pretty much look like this. That’s not a pretty sight. But to my surprise, Laettner averaged a very respectable 13 and 7 over a 17-year career.

Of course, Laettner was no choir boy. That’s the point of this documentary. He stomped on Aminu Timberlake’s chest during that Kentucky game, which is a pretty bush league play. And now Kentucky fans feel like they can rival North Carolina fans for the title of “Who hates Christian Laettner the most?”

I’m really looking forward to this 30 for 30, so make sure to set the DVR. I think I’m most excited to hear from Jalen Rose. As we all know, he holds nothing back in his hatred of the Blue Devils.

ANDREW TIE | @Andrew_Tie

Andrew Tie is a senior journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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