2023 FALL PREMIER AUCTION

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/3/2023

Born and raised in upstate New York to a blue-collar family, Christian Laettner attended Nichols School, a private high school in Buffalo, where he received financial aid and had to work part-time on campus to help cover the rest of his tuition. On the basketball court, the lanky Polish-American kid was a force to be reckoned with, leading the team to two state titles and scoring over 2,000 points to set a school record. Highly skilled and versatile, standing nearly seven feet tall, and blessed with a silky-smooth jumper, Laettner had the look of a sure thing. College coaches around the country noticed his potential early on and recruiting letters started to pile up at the Laettner household.

One of college basketball’s most promising young coaches at the time was Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils were a program on the rise, especially after Coach K guided them to an ACC title and Final Four appearance in 1986. But who would be the next generation of stars to follow Johnny Dawkins and Danny Ferry and help Duke Basketball reach the mountaintop?

From Christian Laettner’s personal collection, we present the final recruiting letter that he received from Coach K – the one that, Christian says, “sealed the deal” on his commitment to Duke University. Considering their unique connections – both sons of hardworking Polish fathers with modest Catholic upbringings in cold-weather climates – it seemed like a perfect fit from the outset. When all was said and done, it turned out to be the most accomplished run by a player-coach duo in college basketball history: four straight Final Fours, back-to-back National Championships, 1992 Naismith NCAA Coach of the Year and a sweep of all six NCAA Player of the Year awards.

The letter, dated Sept. 18, 1987 (early in Laettner’s senior year of high school) has been transcribed below. His mother kept it tucked away in a chest for decades. At one point, she needed to use a Duke logo for something, so she cut it out of the Duke Basketball letterhead on the front of the letter. PSA/DNA has authenticated this important piece of memorabilia. Mike Krzyzewski’s super neat handwriting and “Coach K” signature at the end in bold blue ink received a perfect 10 autograph grade. (We glued the two pages together so the whole letter could fit into one PSA/DNA jumbo slab.)

Dear Christian,

     You are a really good kid and someone I want very much to coach. After meeting with you, I am convinced that we would work together extremely well and that we would do the best job of developing your total potential.

     Christian, I am very impressed with you and your family. You are all real people. I love your sense of humor and the way you express yourself. You would fit in so well with our youngsters. Duke is a very special school and you are a special young man. I sincerely hope that you will eventually choose Duke.

     Please give me a collect call if any questions arise. Take care and thanks for visiting with us.

                                              Sincerely,

                                              Coach K

Christian Laettners 9/18/1987 Duke Recruitment Letter Handwritten & Signed by Coach Mike Krzyzewski (The One That Got Him To Commit!) – Laettner Collection, PSA/DNA GEM MT 10
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Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $8,098
Number Bids:15
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