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Sports

April 6, 2013

Christian Laettner, '76 Hoosiers honored at Final Four

ATLANTA — Christian Laettner will occasionally see a replay of his famous buzzer beater against Kentucky — and he tries not to look too excited about it.

“If I’m in a bar or restaurant and there’s people around kind of seeing how I react to it, I’ll purposely not look at it, so they don’t run around saying, ‘Laettner loved to watch himself on TV,’” Laettner said. “But if I’m in the privacy of my home with my family, I know it’s coming on, I’ll definitely take a peek at it.”

Laettner’s shot that gave Duke an overtime win in a 1992 regional final was picked as the top moment from March Madness, part of a celebration of the NCAA tournament’s 75th anniversary. Indiana’s undefeated team from 1976 was also honored Friday, along with 15 of the tournament’s greatest players — a group that included Laettner.

The best moment and best team were picked by fan voting. The top players were selected based on votes by fans and NCAA experts.

Aside from Laettner, the other 14 players selected were UCLA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Indiana State’s Larry Bird, Princeton’s Bill Bradley, Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing, Duke’s Grant Hill, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson, North Carolina’s Michael Jordan, Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas, Kansas’ Danny Manning, Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon, Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson, San Francisco’s Bill Russell, UCLA’s Bill Walton and West Virginia’s Jerry West.

Manning, Robertson and Walton were on hand for Friday’s news conference, along with Laettner.

“It’s great to be here with these remarkable players and the explosion of what’s come to be,” Walton said. “To me, that’s the most fun part, is to see the growth. Everybody coming together, to watch these remarkable players, to just be a small part of it, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

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