Christian Laettner talks about the time he played five-on-five with nine Hall of Famers - The Buffalo News

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Christian Laettner talks about the time he played five-on-five with nine Hall of Famers

Christian Laettner is among the most decorated players in basketball history. He appeared in four Final Fours, setting several records. He made the most iconic college shot and, although not as prolific in the NBA, was an All-Star in his 12 seasons.

Laettner also was the only college player selected for the Dream Team, probably the greatest collection of talent on any non-exhibition team in any sport.

From within that team came what Michael Jordan considers the best game ever played, an intrasquad scrimmage Laettner played in.

Laettner called "The Tim Graham Show" on Sports Radio 1270 The Fan to revisit what Sports Illustrated called "the greatest game nobody ever saw."

Laettner has referred to himself as the "Dream Team's water boy," but inside a closed gym in Monte Carlo he became part of hoops folklore.

Five future Hall of Famers played four future Hall of Famers and a college superduperstar, an all-out scrimmage, a closed gym in Monte Carlo, a ref calling fouls, pride and egos at stake.

Team White: Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing.

Team Blue: Magic Johnson, Chris Mullin, Laettner, Charles Barkley, David Robinson.

There weren't substitutions. John Stockton and Clyde Drexler were unavailable because of injuries. Laettner guarded Bird.

"It was all over my head," Laettner said, "where I was just hanging on by the seat of my pants and just trying to hang in there as much as I could and keep my hands ready in case Magic hit me with a bullet pass under the bucket to lay it in.

"It was fun and easy and hard and exciting all at the same time."

The Nichols School grad replied to Jordan's statement to SI's Jack McCallum that "Anybody who had Laettner on the team lost. He was the weak link, and everybody went at him."

Laettner compared it to leaving Nichols School for Duke.

"I was the weakest link on the team," Laettner said. "So he was right. I don't mind him saying that."

He also revisited his opinion Jordan was just a slightly better player than Barkley, discussed the evolution of the NBA game that would favor more players like him (a tall player with three-point range) and how he instructs kids at his camps.

He has one coming up at Nichols from July 17 to 20 for ages 10 through 18. For more information, you can visit Laettner's site, www.theclba.com.

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