Christian Laettner Wisely Knew to &039Keep Your Mouth Shut&039 on the 1992 Dream Team

    The Dream Team is, without a doubt, the most impressive collection of talent ever assembled. The United States men’s basketball team featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and many more future Hall of Famers. then at the bottom of the list you had christian laettner.

    Laettner’s inclusion on the 1992 Olympic team is something that naturally stands out. While his 11 teammates were all NBA stars, he was just a 22-year-old fresh out of college. so he made sure not to bother anyone during his tenure in the best team that ever stepped foot on the court.

    christian laettner was a surprising addition to the dream team

    In 1989, a year after the United States lost to the USSR and settled for a bronze medal, FIBA ​​voted to allow NBA players to participate in the Olympics. naturally, team usa uu. He took advantage of the new rule and selected Jordan, Magic and Bird, along with other stars like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen.

    however, u.s. the team did not want to completely abandon the old amateur system. So they selected Laettner, the 6-foot-11 Duke center, to join 11 of the best players in professional basketball. The two-time national champion was chosen from players like LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal, who was selected first overall in the draft, as well as NBA newcomers Alonzo Luto and Jim Jackson.

    Laettner’s career at Duke is one of the most impressive and controversial in college basketball history. The center was the AP Player of the Year in 1992, a two-time All-American, and to this day he remains the third leading scorer in Blue Devils history. however, throughout his time at school, he was seen as cocky and arrogant, essentially becoming the biggest villain in college basketball.

    laettner knew he had to dial again

    Given his success in college and his “bad boy” reputation, it might have been easy for laettner to feel comfortable on the dream team. However, in Jack McCallum’s book Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed Basketball Forever, Laettner shared how the experience was humbling for him. .

    “It wasn’t that hard. Of course, I had to use my head and figure out what it was. even though he was one of the best players in college at the time, it’s pretty obvious that it’s different walking into the room where you’re with the best players at the next level. but I’m smart enough and a good enough kid to realize I’m at the bottom of the pecking order. keep your mouth closed. clock. to learn. collect the bags, collect the balls. it was fun and easy. That’s how I describe it.”

    “I don’t know what he looked like on the outside, but he was fine on the team,” laettner added. “People only see the cocky and arrogant christian laettner. but it’s just me when I get to that level. once you’re on top, you have to be cocky and arrogant. but if i’m not at that top level, i’m just a good guy with a good personality who knows his place. and my place was very low on the totem pole because michael, magic and larry bird are all on the team. it was an easy transition. I am very good in that role. I don’t care about that role.”

    laettner ended up getting along with his teammates

    It wasn’t like Laettner was confined to the bench during America’s waltz for a gold medal. The Minnesota Timberwolves third overall pick played in all eight games, averaging 4.8 points in 7.6 minutes. And off the court, he’s managed to get along with several of his legendary teammates, including Jordan.

    “Michael was pretty good, actually,” Laettner told McCallum. “Later on, he started giving me shit. but he was not bad.

    laettner mentioned that he got along very well with chris mullin, often playing one-on-one during practice. He also spent time with John Stockton and his family, enjoyed “some long talks” with Bird, and got to know Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and David Robinson well.

    Although Laettner’s NBA career spanned 13 seasons, it never materialized the way it did for his fellow Olympians. The big man averaged 12.8 points in his stints with six teams, earning all-star honors in 1996-97 with the Atlanta Falcons. that all-star game reunited him with jordan, pippen and ewing as teammates from the eastern conference.

    Although he is one of the least talked about dream team players, laettner’s experience was unforgettable.

    all stats courtesy of basketball reference.

    related: michael jordan once lost a ping pong match to christian laettner and he responded in the most mj way possible

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