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YouTube Gold: The Fab Five On Duke And Laettner

The 1992 Michigan team was talented but not willing to pay Christian Laettner’s price for greatness.

1992 NCAA National Basketball Championship Title
 MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 6: Duke University forward Christian Laettner holds up the net after his team’s 71-51 victory over the University of Michigan which earned Duke the NCAA Photos via Getty Images National Basketball Championship title at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN.
Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images Photo via Getty Images

Christian Laettner irritated everyone in the college basketball world, including, at times, some or possibly most of his teammates.

You can certainly understand this from, say, UNC’s perspective. The Duke-Carolina rivalry is white hot at all times. Toss in a Laettner and it’s just going to get that much more intense. It’s not an accident or coincidence that one of only two teams to beat Duke in 1991-92 was UNC: they’d had just about enough of Laettner and Duke (the other was Wake Forest).

And you can understand why he drove the entire state of Kentucky insane. No one was ever more thoroughly gutted than BBN was when Laettner hit The Shot in 1992.

And to an extent you can understand why Michigan was too.

As this clip shows, the Fab Five thought Laettner was soft, a pretty boy, and a few other words that you probably don’t want your small children or boss to hear.

But as the Fab Five learned, Laettner might have been a pretty boy but he was anything but soft. Laettner’s arrogance was earned and, to a large extent, justified. Michigan’s freshman arrogance was ridiculous and and Duke made them pay for it three times, including in the national title game.