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You Tube Gold: Duke’s Most Hated Player?

JJ Redick and Grayson Allen got a good dose but Christian Laettner (still) takes the cake.

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At Duke, Christian Laettner set a standard for winning, and for infuriating opponents, that has never been equaled.

In this video, former Duke star Grayson Allen visits with JJ Redick on his podcast and the two members of the Brotherhood find a natural topic of conversation: who was the most hated Duke player?

Both went through the mill. Redick saw his family attacked, including his youngest sister, and the abuse grew to the point where he nearly quit playing basketball. Fortunately, he overcame that and went on to become the ACC’s all-time leading scorer, a record that later fell to UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough.

As for Allen, he really invited it with his tripping incidents at Duke and at one point, after being ejected after the Elon incident, lost emotional control on the bench to the point where we noticed on TV and were worried about him. Like Redick, he took a bit of time to regain his love for the game and, like Redick before him, found his way to the first round of the NBA draft.

The abuse heaped on both was impressive but neither is the most hated player in Duke history.

That title goes to Christian Laettner, who, despite graduating nearly 30 years ago, is still the most hated Duke player of all time, even if you only count Kentucky fans.

Laettner of course gutted Kentucky in 1992 with The Shot, a wound that has never healed. As he swaggered across college basketball, he infuriated teams and fan bases across the country: Aminu Timberlake and Kentucky, Rod Sellers and UConn, the Fab Five and Michigan, Shaquille O’ Neal and LSU, Alonzo Mourning/Dikembe Mutombo and Georgetown. We could go on and probably include some of his teammates, at least at times, not to mention the ACC.

Yet after he infuriated you, nearly inevitably, he walked off the court with the win and he was rarely prevented from doing so.

No one scared opponents or caused more fear and hatred than #32. He was the archetype that Redick and Allen later conveniently filled for Duke haters. We don’t diminish their discomfort but we will say this: Laettner relished and embraced it to an extent that even his mother wondered where it came from.

There’s been no one like him before or since although when one rates Duke’s most hated players and doesn't mention King Arthur, aka Art Heyman, one shows a real recency bias.