5 Surprising Things We Know About Christian Laettner
Christian Laettner is known for many things.
Well, really just two.
He hit that ridiculous shot in the 1992 NCAA tournament to defeat Kentucky. And he was the lone college representative on the 1992 Dream Team. But there's so much more to know about Laettner.
He enjoyed a lengthy NBA career, appearing in 868 games, scoring over 11,000 points and grabbing nearly 6,000 rebounds. In 1997 he made a well-deserved All-Star appearance.
Now, thanks to the wide world of social media, we can now learn so much more about Laettner via his curious tweets on life and basketball.
Here are five interesting facts you'll be surprised to learn about Christian Laettner.
Laettner Enjoys Heli-Skiing...What Is That?
.@bull50 u gonna go heli skiing w/ me march 7-10?!— Christian Laettner (@laettnerbball) January 25, 2013
Yes, indeed. This is Christian Laettner soliciting former Rockets forward Matt Bullard(!) to go heli-skiing with him in March. In fact, Laettner is sending open invitations to any and all former NBA players:
. @thenbpa who wants to go heli skiing w/ me from march 7-10?!— Christian Laettner (@laettnerbball) January 25, 2013
Who knew that the 6'11" Laettner loved heli-skiing so much? Of course, my next question is, what exactly is heli-skiing? Thankfully, wikipedia is here with the adrenaline rush answer:
Heli-skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing that is accessed by a helicopter, as opposed to a ski lift. Heli-skiing is essentially about skiing in a natural, albeit highly-selected environment, without the effort required for hiking into these areas as in ski touring or ski mountaineering.
Seems odd to want a "natural" skiing experience but using a helicopter to get there instead of hiking. But I've never been skiing in any scenario. Hopefully Laettner finds some radical bros to help him enjoy the tubular slopes.
Christian Laettner Is an ABA Champ
No, Laettner didn't get an ABA title playing with Julius Erving's New York Nets or Mel Daniels' Indiana Pacers back in the 1970s.
He is, however, involved with the recently revived minor league ABA. Laettner was a member of the 2011-12 Jacksonville Giants who went 20-1 last season and won the title. Although signed as a "celebrity player", he's nonetheless entitled to the championship ring.
When he signed with the Giants back in December of 2011, Laettner had this delightful quote:
“I can give them 10 to 15 good minutes, and hopefully they won’t need it,” Laettner said. “I’m here to be a good practice player and say a few insightful things once in a while. And to increase the fervor and love of basketball in the area.”
He may never get an NBA ring, but Laettner can now add his ABA ring to his NCAA titles and 1992 Olympic Gold Medal. Nice collection he's got going.
Laettner (Still) Loves His Buzzer Beater Against Pitino
Hoping duke can beat pitino tonite w/o a last second lucky shot!!:)#theshotneverdies— Christian Laettner (@laettnerbball) November 24, 2012
Laettner sent that tweet out back in November as Duke prepared to take on Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardnials. It's been over 20 years and Laettner still enjoys throwing this barb into the eye of Pitino.
"The Shot that Never Dies" was the game-winner that sent Duke to the Final Four in the 1992 NCAA Tournament over Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats. The shot was the final salvo, but Laettner was on fire all night. He made all 10 of his shot attempts and all 10 of his free throws.
Pure perfection that gets overshadowed by his tremendous final shot. Seems Laettner is happy with that.
Laettner Grew Up a Farm Boy in New York
Last month Laettner tweeted about his short documentary on growing up in western New York. In particular he focused on his high school days.
His family's farm and home were 45 minutes away from his high school in Buffalo. To get home in the evenings he would often hitch hike with strangers. If he needed some extra change, there was always manure to shovel and vegetables to pick on the farm.
I never would have guessed this is how he spent his childhood.
No wonder Laettner's now retired in sunny and warm Florida. Growing up on a cold New York farm makes you appreciate hard work and labor. Even more than that, though, it probably makes you enjoy rest and relaxation.
Sounds like he's definitely earned the R&R.
Laettner Is a Basketball Training Guru
Laettner is apparently in demand as a basketball tutor for various schools across the country. Here he's checking in with Purcell Marian High School and DePaul Christo Rey both located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He's also aided small colleges in prepping their players for greater success. Going back to his old stomping grounds in Minnesota, Laettner helped out with Rainy River Community College. The small college is located in International Falls:
Despite all these fun Laettner facts, let's remember where his heart is really at... heli-skiing. The man is obsessed with it!
Just had a nice talk with @laettnerbball. What did we talk about? Basketball of course, but more importantly: Heliskiing!— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) January 30, 2013