VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The college career of former Duke basketball standout Christian Laettner, a two-time national player of the year, was so successful - and so clutch - ESPN produced a documentary centered on the big man titled I Hate Christian Laettner.
Laettner's visit to Virginia Beach this weekend is not about hate - it's about love. It's not about basketball, either. It's about ping pong.
"It's a great sport. I've been playing it my whole life and will play it until the day I die," Laettner explained to News 3.
Laettner visited 757 Sports Collectibles in Virginia Beach Thursday to kick-off the 9th annual PingPongforCHARITY weekend. PingPongforCHARITY promotes brain fitness for all ages, youth to seniors and those facing Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, homelessness and mild to moderate intellectual challenges.
A Japanese study, published by Alzheimer’s Weekly, concluded that brain disease patients who played Ping Pong regularly experienced a boost in brain function and awareness, AND decreased dementia and depression.
"There's no way ping pong doesn't help you," Laettner added. "It's firing off neurons in your brain, it's working your eye/hand coordination, your reflexes. Finally, I met a charity trying to prove the correlation between growing older and working your brain to keep it functioning."
Laettner will be joined by former Greek National Champion and supermodel Ioanna Papadimitriou, former U.S. Olympic Festival gold medalist Kim Gilbert and other ping pong stars.