Laettner, Drexler earn final two Olympic spots

May 12, 1992|By Charles Chandler | Charles Chandler,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Christian Laettner's Olympic wish was granted yesterday.

Laettner, who has led Duke to the past two NCAA championships, and Clyde Drexler of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers were named the 11th and 12th members of the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

The first 10 players were chosen last fall. Laettner is the only collegian on the team.

The selection committee met in Springfield, Mass., and needed only a brief discussion before casting its ballots. Drexler and Laettner had been considered virtual locks to make the team.

The committee was also believed to have been considering naming one or more alternates in case current members are unable to participate. The Boston Celtics' Larry Bird has played only one playoff game because of a sore back. And former Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson says he'll play despite having testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Neither Laettner nor Drexler was available yesterday. The official announcement will come this afternoon.

Laettner said during the Final Four he "would love" to play on the Olympic team, partly because it would give him an early opportunity to test his skills against the NBA's best players.

Laettner, a 6-foot-11 forward, averaged 21.5 points and 7.9 rebounds this season and was the consensus national Player of the Year.

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