In a recent report for the Wall Street Journal, it was revealed that former Duke star Christian Laettner (along with his college teammate Brian Davis) may owe as much as $30 million to a number of current and former athletes thanks to failed real estate investments.
Court documents show that Laettner and Davis individually and their real-estate businesses are defendants in several civil lawsuits seeking repayment of loans worth about $30 million. The plaintiffs include sports celebrities like ex-Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen, who played with Laettner on the 1992 Olympic team. In August 2010, a state court judge in Lake County, Ill., ordered Laettner and Davis to repay Pippen $2.5 million. Through his attorney, Pippen said he had been paid half that amount and that litigation between the parties continues.
“What they have done isn’t honest—I feel cheated,” said Shawne Merriman, the three-time All-Pro Buffalo Bills linebacker who had lent money to the real-estate ventures of Laettner and Davis, which operated under a multitude of names. In January 2011, a federal court judge in Maryland ordered Laettner and Davis to pay Merriman $3.7 million. [Wall Street Journal]
The article goes on to quote Davis as admitting that he and Laettner “took on a lot of risk,” and that they spread themselves too thin while trying to expand their business, but since I am about the furthest thing possible from a financial reporter, I’d like to focus on another part of the story. I would never have invested a dime with Christian Laettner, no matter how good the investment looked, for one simple reason: He looks like the douchey bad guy from a high school or college movie from the late-80s or early-90s, and I have seen entirely too many of those movies to trust someone like that. Look at that picture. He might as well be driving a convertible with a sweater tied around his neck on his way to pick up his girlfriend Buffy from the club so they can go summer at his parents’ beach house. And, as we all know, those guys always get their comeuppance at some point during the movie. In that way, this financial trouble is kind of like the scene in Revenge of the Nerds where the Tri-Lambs put Liquid Heat in the Alpha Betas jock straps at football practice.
When reached for comment, Laettner has this to say: