Christian Laettner reportedly reaches deal to possibly avoid bankruptcy

Christian Laettner in 2013.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Laettner, who had bankruptcy proceedings initiated against him by several creditors including current and retired NFL and NBA players, has reached a settlement with them.

Laettner partnered with former Duke teammate Brian Davis in developing tobacco warehouses in Durham, N.C. into apartments and commercial property, then sold his majority interest to an investment firm earlier this year. According to attorney Hassan Zavareei, who released a statement to The Associated Press, part of Laettner’s proceeds from the sale will be distributed to five creditors, including Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen, former Duke teammate Johnny Dawkins, Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart and former Detroit Lions linebacker Ernie Sims, who had been seeking $14 million from him.

The amount of the settlement is $10 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Laettner’s attorneys have filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to dismiss the involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against him.

The settlement should bring an end to years of financial troubles for Laettner, whose debt reportedly reached $30 million during the recession, and the personal acrimony that resulted from him owing friends and former teammates for years. 

“As everyone who has seen Christian play basketball knows, he just doesn’t panic,” Zavareei said in a statement. “So he stuck to his guns, declined to declare bankruptcy, and fought through the worst real estate crisis of our times to repay his creditors as much as possible.”

Laettner, 47, led Duke to national championships in 1991 and ’92, and the highlight of his buzzer-beating shot to beat Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional final remains an annual staple of NCAA Tournament coverage. He was a member of the original Olympic Dream Team and made one All-Star team during a 13-year NBA career with six teams.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.