Most Hated College Basketball Player, Day 6: Self-Awareness Is Overrated, Laettner


Self-awareness is overrated, especially among the famous. Should it really be cause for celebration that some historic asshole has the wherewithal to recognize his asshole past? Should we forgive so easily, simply because a celebrity shows the common decency to admit past mistakes? Have our troll-convictions really become so soggy and desperate?


Last week on this site, J.J. Redick admitted to being “sort of a prick” during his career at dook. (If any of the fine editors of this site feel the need to change the appropriate spelling of Durham’s most depraved institution of “higher learning,” please feel free to send me my standard kill fee of a $5 gift certificate at Del Taco.) Before that, Christian Laettner, the prohibitive favorite to win this Most Hated College Basketball Player bracket, tried to stay one step ahead of his comeuppance by taking to Twitter with the following nonsense.

Both Laettner and Redick must have been hoping that a little self-awareness would soften the public’s animosity and would humanize them to a younger generation of fans who might not remember the chest-stomping, the endless preening, the floor-slapping, and the general dickhead behavior. Maybe they saw how much an up-front apology and a controlled dash of “realness” helped Andy Pettitte and Manti Te’o avoid potentially nuclear PR situations. Maybe they thought America might be a forgiving place for habitual line-steppers and all-around jerks. Maybe they thought, Let the truth set me free!

No. No, no, no, no, no, no! Neither Laettner nor Redick should get a pass for their asshole pasts. They both decided to play basketball at dook University, and in doing so signed one of the only hard-and-fast contracts in sports: If you step onto the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium as a member of the Blue Devils, you hereafter forfeit any and all attempts to humanize yourself at a later date. Laettner and Redick will always be dookies. And, as the two dookies who best embodied everything there is to hate about that horrible place, they forever deserve our scorn and derision.

There are about as many books written about the Carolina-dook rivalry as there are about the Civil War, so I won’t bore you with some long missive about tobacco barons, New Jersey, racist fraternities, prohibitive tuition costs, hideous neo-gothic buildings, gassed-up U.S. News & World Report rankings, pathetic camping practices (LEAVE NO TRACE, YOU SPOILED JERKS!), rat-faced coaches, white point guards, dookie V blowing, Shane Battier’s citrus head, obnoxious floor-slapping, horrendous calls that always go one way, or flying elbows that split open the face of the greatest human being to ever play college basketball, who, for some strange reason, also finds himself in the finals of this competition. What I will say is this: There is no “dook self-awareness.” You do not get points for “owning it.” And anyone who is willing to forgive Laettner or Redick for their numerous transgressions and the irreparable damage they did to the integrity and beauty of the game of basketball is a traitor.

Laettner and Redick, please continue to apologize and sidestep and debase yourself and dook University in the name of self-awareness. It’s true, some people are so desperate to “know” anyone of any consequence that they will think more highly of you because of your manufactured candor. There are also people who send love letters to serial killers.


It had to be this way. The most tenacious monster to ever play college basketball, the scrappiest power forward in the history of Chapel Hill, the blue-collar-iest lunch pail to lace ’em up, the one man who embodied every cliché and euphemism for “white player,” has awoken from cryogenic slumber to find himself in the Thunderdome. Or, to mix more movie metaphors, Psycho T has exited the time portal and has found himself in the streets of Durham like so:


Here’s the question for all the good readers of Grantland who did not debase themselves by attending one of the most odious institutions in the history of America: Do we want Tyler Hansbrough to beat Christian Laettner and take home the trophy as the “Most Hated Player in the Last 30 Years,” thereby smushing Laettner’s stupid face in his pre-tournament predictions? Or do we want America to send a clear message to Laettner that we do not believe all this self-aware nonsense?

How do you vote against Laettner? Which vote is the vote for good?

I say, let the jerk lose at his own game. A vote for Hansbrough is a vote against Laettner and his nefarious plot to silence the clear voice of America.

Hated College Basketball Players Bracket Final

[1] Tyler Hansbrough (WINNER): 3,310
[4] Eric Montross: 877

[1] Christian Laettner (WINNER): 3,746
[7] Rick Fox: 692


Filed Under: College Basketball, Duke, Hated On Mostly, Jay Caspian Kang