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Basketball Legend Visits Bemidji

Alex Berg | Sports Editor | 10-30-12

 

Former NBA all-star, Olympic gold medalist and legendary college basketball player Christian Laettner brought his basketball academy to Bemidji recently at the Bemidji Middle School.

The event was put on by Oak Hills Christian College. The school’s athletic director, Dan Hovestol, said there were 115 kids at the clinic.

“I think it went well,” Laettner said of the event. “More than anything, I want to make sure the kids have a fun time. The second most important thing is to teach them drills and help them work on their skills.”

Prior to the event, Laettner worked out with the Oak Hills basketball teams and spent a Sunday morning working with both the boys and girls basketball teams at Bemidji High School.

On that Sunday evening, a little after 6, Laettner hauled in a 54 1/2 inch muskie on Lake Bemidji.

Laettner, who spent the first three and a half seasons of his NBA career playing in Minnesota, still spends plenty of time in the state.

“I met my wife up here, so there are a lot of good memories,” Laettner said of Minnesota. “I still spend a lot of time up here every summer going fishing at Lake of the Woods.”

Hovestol said he is optimistic Laettner could return to Bemidji in the summer for a longer camp. While Laettner is hoping to land a future career in coaching, his passion clearly lies in the game of basketball.

“Most importantly, I want them to have fun,” Laettner said. “But at the end of every day I will give the kids about 15 important things to remember. If they can remember two or three of those things and work on them, they are going to get better. That is what I want. I want these kids to get better at the game of basketball.”