Earlier today, former BBN Enemy #1 Christian Laettner tweeted this photo to his followers:
For all u UK fans—me and tony delk hangin out in Vegas !! Enjoy and please do not disown him for this!! twitter.com/laettnerbball/…
— Christian Laettner (@laettnerbball) July 9, 2012
Laettner is in Las Vegas to help cover the Team USA’s preparations for the Olympics and ran into Delk, who agreed to the picture. Allow me a little bit of hyperbole, but this picture is pretty much good vs. evil; Delk, the Golden Retriever of Kentucky basketball, mugging with Laettner, the Devil in the blue jersey. It got me thinking about the Big Blue Nation’s feelings towards Laettner. For the longest time, his name was taboo–he was Kentucky’s “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
But, after last summer’s Big Blue All-Stars vs. Villains game, in which Laettner coached against Rex Chapman, have our feelings towards him softened? He did, after all, agree to walk into Rupp Arena, to a chorus of boos. He made the rounds on the local talk shows, including KSR, and even though we wanted to hate every bit, he managed to make us laugh, even admitting that he enjoys coming to Kentucky to go fishing occasionally. And then, in an act some jokingly compared to groveling for forgiveness, he gamely got down on all fours and mopped the sweat off Rupp’s floor. He clearly enjoys playing the villain. His Twitter avatar is the iconic picture of him taking “The Shot,” with his bio reading “the shot … to kentucky’s heart.”
I find myself torn between three camps of feelings towards Laettner:
A) Meh, it’s water under the bridge. He hit an incredible shot, and sure it stung, but let’s move on.
B) Hey, I hated the kid. I really did. Until last summer, I grimaced every time I heard about him. But, he has a good sense of humor, and mopped the floor in Rupp, so maybe I don’t hate him…so much.
C) Once a stomper, always a stomper.
How do you feel about Christian Laettner?
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