Christian Laettner RumorsAll NBA Players
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
I always preface this with Christian Laettner is a friend. We spent hours after practices hanging out. We got in a heated card game. Normally, when you play cards and you lose, it’s no big deal. Just try to pay your debt before the next plane ride. You don’t have to pay the next day at practice, or the next four days at practice, but before the next plane ride, you get your debts out of the way. That’s the rule of things. Laettner liked to have debt and play until he won it back. We had a little heated conversation about debts. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘How you sitting up here talking about this and you owe me money?’ Next thing I know, it was on. I was heated that night now, but I can admit when I was wrong. The next day was an off day. I drove up to his apartment. He opened the door – I could see he had a black eye. But we talked and laughed and it was over. We’re still friends. As good friends as a Duke and North Carolina guy can be.
For the record, he addressed a local legend: an oft-repeated story that he pointed at each Wolves teammate’s locker one day and said “loser” before ending with “winner” when he got to his. “I don’t know, I can imagine that possibly it happened,” said Laettner, certain it wasn’t in front of teammates if it did happen. “When you’re interviewed every day and you’re tired, you can make mistakes and say the wrong things, especially when you’re young. That’s what the movie did a good job showing: Hey, people mature. They learn. They get better at things. “You’re different when you’re 45 than when you’re 25. If I did say that, it was a horrible thing to say … it was a misbehavior on my part.”
At least he has been since the ESPN Films’ 30-for-30 documentary “I Hate Christian Laettner” first aired last Sunday. Fittingly executive produced and narrated by actor Rob Lowe, the 90-minute film explores why one of the most successful collegiate players of all time — a guy who had it all: looks, smarts and game — was so disliked. And perhaps in some places still is. “I loved it,” he said Saturday. “Every time I see it, I love it more and more. They put it together really good. I can only ask that people give me the benefit of the doubt. I don’t need you to love me. I don’t want you to hate me. But just don’t judge the book by its cover. I’m different now than I was when I was 20 years old, and those were all things that I think got across in the movie. So I really appreciate it.”
“To be honest with you, it hurt and I didn’t like it,” says Laettner, 45, married with three children, “but the media makes a big deal about a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be made a big deal of. I just realized it was something I couldn’t control, so when you look in the mirror, you know the truth, and rumors that I was gay in 1992, that was shocking and not very socially acceptable.”
“Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot” was one chant. The other, as described by then-Duke assistant Jay Bilas, now an ESPN analyst, went like this: “The LSU crowd, they did kind of the tomahawk chop at Laettner, except they were chanting: ‘homo-sex-ual!’ The TV announcers knew what was happening and one said, “We can’t tell you what they are saying.”
So who is responsible for choosing the memorable title of “I Hate Christian Laettner” for the upcoming documentary on one of the most polarizing college basketball players in history? Well, that would be Christian Laettner himself. ESPN announced last week it will air a 90-minute examination of Laettner’s life on March 15, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET as part of its acclaimed “30 for 30” series. The film is being directed by Rory Karpf, who previously directed “The Book of Manning” and “Tim Richmond: To The Limit,” and when Karpf met with Laettner at his home in Jacksonville a couple of months ago, Laettner showed Karpf some custom t-shirts with “I STILL LOVE CHRISTIAN LAETTNER” on the front, a humorous retort to the “I STILL HATE LAETTNER” t-shirts that float around the state of Kentucky to this day.
“Once people see the film some, people might see Christian differently,” Karpf said. “I’m not saying everything will be viewed in rose-colored glasses but I think people will see sides of Christian Laettner they have never seen before. I feel like we have compelling material and I’m hoping it will be a captivating film for Duke lovers, haters and people who don’t even know Duke basketball before this.” “More than anything I hope people watch it [and] enjoy it, and to quote Fox News, it’s then for them to decide,” Laettner said. “I want the viewers to decide whether they like it or not. But I’m going to like it because I was honored they asked me. How many people get to say a 30 for 30 is being made about them?”