Kentucky fans may never forgive Christian Laettner for the physical and emotional toll he exacted on the Wildcats in the 1992 Elite Eight. Not only did Laettner break the hearts of Big Blue with a buzzer-beating shot, his stomp on Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake added some serious salt to the Wildcats' wounds.
Laettner has since apologized for his dirty play and called it a "big mistake." This week Laettner extended the proverbial olive branch again, at a fundraiser for Duke and Kentucky supporters in Atlanta on the night before the anticipated matchup between the Blue Devils and the Wildcats.
Laettner let the five highest bidders at the event pose for a photo (below) while stomping on his chest, the Advocate-Messenger of Kentucky reported. The proceeds from the contest went to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Yes, the Kentucky fans in the picture are wearing T-shirts that read, "I Still Hate Laettner."
This isn't the first time that Laettner has been on the wrong side of a stomp. This summer he let former Kentucky star Anthony Davis pose for a photo with his foot on Laettner's chest.
While Kentucky fans aren't too fond of Laettner, many might be surprised to find out that Laettner was nearly a prodigy of the Wildcats' coach, John Calipari. Laettner said he attended a camp in Pittsburgh as a high schooler, and Calipari (who was an assistant at Pitt at the time) was also there. Laettner idolized Calipari, and he even included considered going to Pitt solely because of Calipari.
Now, Laettner has enjoyed watching Calipari from afar.
"I am not surprised at all with the level of successs he has anywhere he goes," Laettner said. "He gets very good players. He is a very good recruiter. He gets high-level players, and he is able to get them to play a certain way in a short period of time because a lot of his kids leave early (for the NBA). He regroups and has another good team the next year, so I just think he is a great coach."
While Laettner's gesture this week won't completely heal old wounds, it is certainly a "stomp" in the right direction.
(H/T to The Advocate-Messenger)