Posted by J.M. Brothers on December 18, 2014
The memory of the 1992 NCAA tournament is a sore spot for most Wildcat fans, as it should be. With nearly 18,000 in attendance at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, UK lost a heartbreaker to Duke 104-103 in overtime as Christian Laettner hit a jumper at the buzzer, sending the Blue Devils to the Final Four and leaving the Wildcats scratching their heads.
It’s been twenty-two years since this happened, and yet two of the most sought after items of UK apparel continue to be “I Still Hate Laettner” and “Duke Makes Me Puke” t-shirts.
So, why is this?
Well, as many of you probably know, it’s not abnormal for a team to showcase sustained hatred for a team or a player. Career-long rivalries are often borne out of something seemingly inconsequential that happened years ago.
Sometimes rivalries are started by fans, and sometimes they’re completely fabricated by the media (The Mickey Mantle—Roger Maris “rivalry” comes to mind).
The New York Rangers of the NHL still chant “Potvin Sucks” at games in 2014, a reference to New York Islanders player Denis Potvin, who hasn’t played a game since 1988. The chant itself originated after a dirty hit by Potvin that happened in 1979, thirty-five years ago.
The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have had a rivalry since the late 19th century, when both teams were in Brooklyn. Not to mention the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry, which has been going strong for 800 years now.
The shared hatred of a team can be almost as strong of a bond as the shared love of a team. Ask someone from Boston, and they might say they hate the Yankees more than they love the Red Sox. And they’d be proud of it.
Wildcat fans seem to have a similar view of Duke, and we continue to resent Laettner for that buzzer-beater in ’92. That shared hatred only makes us stronger as fans, because we’ll continue to run into them come March Madness, and we want to remember how badly we want to beat them.
Laettner’s shot has been very prevalent in the media throughout the years, making it even harder to forget. Whether it’s in an Allstate Ad, or a Vitamin Water commercial, or in just about every NCAA montage you see, it doesn’t seem to go away.
“I Still Hate Laettner” and “Duke Makes Me Puke” shirts are the most popular items on wildcatsportsapparel.com with over 100 searches per month. Sometimes it’s good for team morale to remember who you hate, who you want to beat. No matter how many times we’ve beaten them since, there’s still that desire for revenge, year after year.
The next time the Wildcats face off with Duke, we know which shirts we’ll be wearing. What about you?