by Alex L. Araneta
The 1992 NCAA Basketball Season was perhaps the best season of College Basketball in the U.S. because it had all the drama and excitement that
competition can bring to those who desire to win. Sports enthusiasts unanimously agree that the East Regional Finals between perennial powerhouses
Duke and Kentucky was without a doubt the greatest college basketball game ever played. With just 2.3 seconds left in overtime, the Kentucky Wildcats enjoyed a slim 103-102 margin over their arch-nemesis Duke Blue Devils. Duke however had possession and it’s star guard Grant Hill was to throw the ball from one side of the court to the other and hope their other star, Christian Laetner would catch the ball and be able to shoot the basket. Well, in just 2.3 seconds everything happened as planned. What made it even better and sweeter was the fact that Christian Laetner was
able to catch the ball perfectly, take one dribble and without pressure make a turn-around jump shot that swooshed inside the ring with conviction. It was a sight to behold and this milestone in every Duke player’s career would certainly give them the fame, confidence and drive to succeed in their future.
It would not happen that way. Duke’s biggest stars of that fabled team were Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Christian Laetner. Of the three Laetner had the brightest prospects to make it big. He was NCAA’s MVP, the only college player who was part of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team composed of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird among others. Finally, he of course was drafted as one of the top rookies in the NBA and was given the best financial package possible. Unfortunately, Laetner’s success as a college player never translated into wins in the NBA and his career was quite forgettable. He eventually went into business after retiring and dabbled into real estate with a former teammate. This business started well at first but eventually ran into problems that made Laetner take out a loan that was too much for him to pay. Years later and to this day, Laetner has multiple cases filed against him for failure to pay his loans and is currently looking for a job to enable him to settle out of court.
As for the other two star Duke players, Bobby Hurley got drafted in the NBA as well but not long after suffered from a terrible car accident that he survived but left him physically impaired that he was unable to perform at a high level just like when he was in college. Grant Hill was also drafted high in the NBA and was at one point predicted to be the next coming of Michael Jordan. Injuries however persistently plagued him that robbed the best years of his basketball life that when he finally was able to get back into the court, he was relegated to a mere supporting role.
I guess the burning question a person reading this would have is “How can three individuals who shared so great a success during their younger years all share in experiencing unfortunate, tragic and even career and life-threatening incidents not long after ? What did they do to deserve all of this and what are the lessons we can learn from them?
The conclusion I get from this which is validated by many experiences and stories I myself have witnessed and experienced is this – There is a god and it certainly is not us! If we will be true to ourselves I am sure that there has or there is a point in our lives that we have all felt invincible. Remember those times when everything just seemed to always fall into place and we would always manage to get our way? We are well-loved by friends and family, we enjoy the many luxuries life offers, we’re at the peak of our health and we look good! Best of all is we seem to have the knack of making the right decisions that takes form in having countless money, fame, possessions and relationships.
Here lies the rub. All these things won’t last very long. All these things really don’t satisfy. All these things give you a false sense of what is really important in life. All these things don’t make you a real success. So the obvious question we should ask next is why then do we pursue these things? The reason is quite simple. Because we often mistake the “gods” in our life with The God who created life.
Now that you know these things, make sure you’re ready to play the greatest game of your life.
by Alex L. Araneta