Celebrated and vilified, Christian Laettner was without question the most polarizing player in NCAA history. ESPN’s wildly popular 30 for 30 documentary, “I Hate Christian Laettner” is proof enough. Whether a fan of Duke, North Carolina or Kentucky, one thing all can agree on is that the root of such intense hatred and envy came down to one word: success. And no player had more success during their four years of college basketball than the 6’ 11” center from upstate New York. White, good-looking, seemingly privileged (although his blue-collar background says otherwise), and exceptionally talented with unabashed confidence bordering on sheer arrogance, Laettner was the typical spokesperson for Duke Basketball, the perfect recruit for Coach K, and the ideal target for haters. From 1988 to 1992, Christian Laettner put together arguably the most decorated NCAA resume ever: four straight Final Fours, two National Championships, two All-America teams, and just about every major Player of the Year award handed out during his fairy-tale senior season. No wonder everyone hated Christian. He was just too good, his team too dominant.
Presented here is perhaps the greatest individual achievement award that Christian Laettner ever received: his 1992 Naismith Player of the Year trophy. Entering his senior season, with one NCAA title under his belt, Laettner set out to defend Duke's crown. He averaged 21.5 points and 7.9 rebounds during the 1991-92 campaign as Duke entered the NCAA tournament as the #1 seed. Then came his incredible turn-around jumper, known as "The Shot", to beat Kentucky in the East Regional Final. One of the most iconic moments and greatest games in NCAA history. The Blue Devils would later face Michigan's vaunted "Fab Five" in the NCAA Championship and cruised to a 71-51 victory.
The trophy stands just under 20" tall with a 7.5" by 7.5" by 5" wooden base. "NAISMITH" in shiny gold-colored lettering adorns each upper side of the base. A brown plaque on the base's front side reads "NAISMITH COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - 1992 - Christian Laettner - Duke University." At the foot of the large 14.5" brass basketball figuring is a coin-shaped medallion engraved with a vintage basket image surrounded by "ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB NAISMITH TROPHY" on the rim in raised relief lettering. The trophy weighs 13.2 lbs. and presents in outstanding condition, with hardly a scratch to the wood and little metal tarnishing. A spectacular, one-of-a-kind artifact of extraordinary significance, this trophy celebrates one of the greatest college athletic careers ever and comes directly from Christian Laettner himself.
LOA signed by Christian Laettner.