Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, members of Duke University’s first two national championship basketball teams, will give $2 million to their alma mater to support a men’s basketball scholarship and a planned new athletics facility, university president Richard H. Brodhead announced Thursday.
"Christian Laettner and Brian Davis are leaders whose commitment to excellence is well known,” Brodhead said. “We are grateful for their generosity, which will allow future scholar-athletes to participate in Duke’s rich tradition in a great new facility.”
A scholarship will be endowed with $750,000 of the gift. The joint gift makes the pair the 27th partners of the Legacy Fund, an organization that endows scholarships and provides other support for the basketball program. Each Legacy Fund member has committed at least $1 million to the program.
The remaining $1.25 million will support a new Duke basketball practice and training facility to be built behind Cameron Indoor Stadium. Construction of the facility, which is planned to include an academic center and events center, will require approval of the university’s Board of Trustees once the school’s design and financing requirements are met.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised Laettner and Davis, members of the NCAA championship team in 1991 and co-captains on the 1992 NCAA-winning team, as “athletes who care about a lot more than basketball.
“They have invested in Duke and the Durham community in a number of ways,” Krzyzewski said. “We were fortunate to have their talents on the court, and we are just as fortunate to have them still be a part of our program.”
Laettner, a 14-year National Basketball Association veteran, and Davis are partners with Durham developer Tom Niemann, a 1991 graduate of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, in Blue Devil Ventures, a company formed in 1995. The firm is currently building the next phase of their West Village mixed-use project in downtown Durham.
Laettner was the 1992 National Player of the Year and member of the Olympic “Dream Team” the following summer. He is one of 11 players in the history of Duke to have his jersey number retired and hanging in the rafters of Cameron. His game-winning shot against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional is widely considered one of the top clutch plays in college sports history.
Davis was also a starter on the 1992 national championship team, averaging more than 11 points a game and serving as the team’s defensive stopper. He played in 141 career games and scored 952 points.
Laettner currently resides in Florida as a member of the NBA’s Miami Heat, while Davis maintains homes in his native Washington, D.C., area and in Durham.