In the early 90’s, college basketball was dominated by the Duke Blue Devils who won back to back NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992. The leader and face of those teams was Christian Laettner, a 6’11” forward who to this day is still the only player in NCAA history to start in 4 straight Final Fours. And America hated him. Well, most of America. I’m confident there were people who attended Duke at the time who didn’t.
Prior to those early 90’s Duke teams, Duke men’s basketball was not the lightning rod for hatred it has been since and still is today. Laettner is Patient Zero in the now two-decades-old tradition of non-Duke fans’ irrational (probably) hatred towards their best (seemingly upper-class white) player.
To explore this hatred, ESPN has announced a 30 for 30 documentary to be aired next March titled I Hate Christian Laettner. Directed by Rory Karpf, [The Book of Manning and Tim Richmond: To The Limit] his latest installment will bring interviews with Laettner’s former teammates, rivals, and Laettner himself to focus on why he was so hated.
The documentary premieres on Sunday, March 15th at 9:00pm ET.