On the eve of ESPN’s “Why Does Everyone Hate Christian Latteaner?” documentary, the New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman argues the former Duke standout has been unfairly barred from entry to Springfield, MA’s Basketball Hall Of Fame, though I suspect he’s allowed to purchase a ticket, provided he pays in cash :
Of the 12 members of the Dream Team, he is the only one who has not gained induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as an individual. (The Dream Team was inducted as a unit in 2010.) In fact, according to the Hall of Fame, Laettner has not been nominated. This despite a process in which anyone can put together a package of information for the screening committee to consider.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, is unlike the institutions associated with Major League Baseball and the National Football League, which mostly consider the pro careers of athletes. The basketball committee would look at Laettner’s contributions as an amateur and a professional and to the national team. But Duke, for which he won two national titles, and the Atlanta Hawks, for whom he was an All-Star — not to mention fans, boosters and other teams — have never completed the process to propose him for the game’s highest honor.
When Duke was contacted about not having nominated Laettner, associate sports information director Matt Plizga responded that the university had never nominated an individual, allowing others to recognize the accomplishments of its athletes.
Apparently, Hoffman believes that in addition to Laettner’s impressive collegiate resume, being the 12th man on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team is a serious credential. Not to mention, ONE All-Star reserve nod in a 12 year NBA career! If being the last guy named to the Gold Medal-winning Dream Team is a big deal, how about never getting out of the second round of the playoffs in his pro tenure?