Christian Laettner - From Glory Road to Civil Court

Kentucky's most infamous villain, Christian Laettner, is having some serious legal difficulties due to some business deals gone bad.

Laettner, of course, is the author of the the brilliant, last second dagger and perfect performance against Kentucky that led Duke to their second straight NCAA championship in 1992. Amongst Kentucky circles, he is better known for the infamous "Stomp" to the defenseless Aminu Timberlake's shallow chest while he lay prone after a play in which he committed a blocking foul against the bigger and stronger Laettner, the contact from which knocked Timberlake down. The resultant contact technical foul on Laettner was highly controversial, as many in the sports community as well as Kentucky fans thought the reckless and deliberate act by Laettner warranted an ejection.

But Laettner is getting hit by more than technical fouls these days. From today's Wall Street Journal:

Court documents show that Laettner and [former Duke teammate Brian] Davis individually and their real-estate businesses are defendants in several civil lawsuits seeking repayment of loans worth about $30 million. The plaintiffs include sports celebrities like ex-Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen, who played with Laettner on the 1992 Olympic team. In August 2010, a state court judge in Lake County, Ill., ordered Laettner and Davis to repay Pippen $2.5 million. Through his attorney, Pippen said he had been paid half that amount and that litigation between the parties continues.

There is much more to this story, although it is in a similar vein and includes an bewildering array of other people with Duke connections as well as a number of former sports stars.

Our own Ken Howlett interacted with Laettner on a personal level earlier this year as a result of the UK Heroes vs. Villains basketball game where he met the former Blue Devil, and that interaction showed Laettner had a notable sense of humor as well as being approachable and polite.

Of course, there are those Kentucky fans for whom the order of the day will be schadenfreude. No doubt Laettner earned a good bit of that as well. In any case, it pales in comparison to the difficulties he and his business partners are apparently facing at the moment.

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