Duke basketball: Kentucky rents teach kids harsh Christian Laettner reality

Duke basketball legend Christian Laettner (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Duke basketball legend Christian Laettner (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) /

Just as one might show a child an online clip that warns against poking electrical outlets with a metal fork, a few wise adults exposed some Lexington lads to the sparks that fly when you poke a Duke basketball legend.

Christian Laettner is at it again, whether he knows it or not. Duke basketball’s unrivaled clutch-bucket producer and ultimate hate-inducer harvested a new crop of Kentucky disbelief this past weekend.

And the back-to-back national champ did so without even having to again confidently lift his hands above his head, smoothly catch a fullcourt heave from unguarded inbounder Grant Hill, calmly take a dribble to his right, seamlessly pivot to his left, or poetically hoist the most beautiful fadeaway swish these two eyes have ever seen (as is the case for all the witnesses, I’ll never forget where I was when it happened).

No, Laettner, the most accomplished college hoopster from the past 40 years, managed to generate some fresh Wildcat anguish thanks to some admirable Kentucky parenting (I’ll get to that in a minute).

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Though I have watched my family’s cherished VHS copy of Duke’s 104-103 overtime win over Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Final enough times to memorize all the announcers’ lines, the nationally broadcasted CBS replay on Saturday afternoon provided a few more goosebumps than usual.

Maybe that’s because of March Madness withdrawal due to coronavirus concerns canceling all postseason play this year. Or maybe the explanation is that Laettner’s game-winner at the buzzer that night 28 years ago — capping off a 10-for-10 mark from the field, advancing the Duke basketball program to its fifth straight Final Four, and crushing the spirit of the entire Bluegrass State — continues to age like whiskey.

But after seeing a couple of delightful videos pop up on Monday, I’m wondering if the root of my pleasure was actually the fact I subconsciously knew that some moms and dads out there in Big Blue Nation were properly explaining to their Wildcat youngins a harsh reality: Duke basketball will always own Kentucky because of one forever-moment.

Some folks — even of the UK variety, apparently — just get it: you can’t raise resolute men by shielding boys’ eyes every time a horror flick comes on TV. And here’s an example of such a Parenting 101 lesson in action:

As Kentucky alum and SportsCenter anchor Michael Eaves tweeted, “These #BBN kids need to know their history!”

On that note, let’s check out another household that deserves a gold-star award for its elite nurturing techniques:

Granted, considering how many Kentucky faithful on Twitter consume themselves with commenting on all Duke basketball happenings, there ought to be countless more of these clips following this latest re-broadcast of the top-shelf Blue Devil magic trick from March 28, 1992.

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Maybe there are more floating around; maybe I just couldn’t find them. Maybe some parents are just hesitant to share them. Maybe others turned the game off in the second half out of disgust that one little lovetap to the stomach of Kentucky’s Aminu Timberlake — aka, a brilliant mind game by Dr. Lovetapper himself — didn’t result in what would have been an unwarranted ejection.

Either way, offspring from this Laettner-loathing blue-bloodline needn’t worry about never getting to learn a necessary life lesson by experiencing “The Shot” for themselves. Fortunately for their sake, all they’ll need to do is catch any intro to any NCAA Tournament game for all of eternity.

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