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Laettner faces bankruptcy petition

Five creditors are trying to force former Nichols and Duke University basketball star Christian D. Laettner into bankruptcy, claiming debts of $14.1 million.

The involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Durham, N.C. The largest single claim of the five is for $7.3 million. The filing does not specify the nature of the debts, other than saying they were mainly business debts.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a lawyer for Laettner saying the filing stemmed from a Durham real estate development that fizzled during the Great Recession. The lawyer, Hassan Zavareei, said Laettner plans to negotiate a deal that would cause the bankruptcy filing to be dropped.

Laettner “has done and continues to do everything possible to repay his fellow investors,” Zavareei was quoted as saying.

Laettner, an Angola native, spent 13 years in the NBA before retiring in 2005.