“The Blue Devil Himself”

Aleks Headshotby Aleks Mihailovic
Sports Writer

I hate Christian Laettner

ESPN released the new addition of their 30 for 30 series on March 15, which drew a line between Duke University’s supporters and opponents.

30 for 30 is the title for a series of documentary films being shown on ESPN networks and sites associated with ESPN. 30 for 30 highlights important people and events in the sports world and history.

This year’s 30 for 30 choice, I hate Christian Laettner, is a sports documentary on one of the best college basketball players that has ever played the game.

Out of the four years Laettner played at Duke (’88-’92), their team made four straight Final Four appearances alongside two back to back National Championships in 1991 and 1992.

ESPN Senior Writer Gene Wolciechowski stated in the 30 for 30 description on ESPN’s website that, “[Christian Laettner] was one of the top 10 greatest players who ever played college basketball.”

Laettner was successful and still holds NCAA records today. The teams he played against his freshman year paved the way to the player he became.

Being matched up against Duke’s main rival Georgetown his freshman year, facing Georgetown’s top player, Alonzo Mourning, was not going to stop Laettner.

Mourning was also a freshman when the two matched up in 1999. 

Laettner replies in the 30 for 30 documentary that, “Just because [Mourning is] more physically developed and maybe bigger and stronger than me, they think he’s a better player. And I’ll never forget how batty that drove me.”

Laettner’s strong mental and physical determination during his career advanced his performance and sense of pride in his trade. He threw elbows and got in his opponent’s faces; he was the wide-open target for the other teams.

LHS senior Frankie Pignone said that, “I liked the documentary because it showed how an edgy player was both hated and liked by people. It also showed how Duke started their basketball dynasty.”

Though there are those that hate Duke around the country, there is no denying that Laettner was a great basketball player. What he did worked; he was successful and still holds NCAA records today.

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