Chris Webber is part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. The 15-year veteran was drafted first overall in 1994 by the Golden State Warriors but played his biggest NBA role in Sacramento as he led the Kings to within one game of the NBA finals in 2002. But as he enters the hall, C-Webb will accomplish something more important than anything else during his induction ceremony.
Despite any professional accolades that come his way, Webber will always be known best for his time at Michigan as a member of the famed Fab Five. Now the band is getting back together as one of the most influential basketball teams of all time will reunite to celebrate Webber’s induction.
The Fab Five are one of the most important basketball teams in the history of the game
Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson changed basketball. From baggy shorts, black socks, and black shoes to a more wide-open style of play, the Fab Five introduced parts of the game that are taken for granted today but were unheard of then.
The five freshmen arrived together at Michigan in 1991 as one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time. Wolverines head coach Steve Fisher was reluctant, at first, to start all five at the same time — no college basketball team had ever started five freshmen at once. But Fisher decided to roll the dice in a game against Notre Dame, and Webber, Rose, Howard, King, and Jackson scored every one of the team’s points.
The Wolverines then rolled to the NCAA championship game behind the quintet, continuously proving the notion wrong that five freshmen can’t win in college basketball. The Fab Five returned to the NCAA title game as sophomores, eventually losing to North Carolina.
Webber turned pro after that season, and Rose and Howard followed suit a year later.
But a group of five teenagers came together, rebelled against the status quo — both on and off the floor — and as a group changed basketball, as a game and as a culture.
Chris Webber spent more than a decade away from the university and his teammates, but all five are reuniting to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame
The University of Michigan disassociated itself from Webber in 2003 due to a court case involving illegal benefits the forward received while playing for the Wolverines. After initially denying to a grand jury that he paid booster Ed Martin $38,000 in return for money he received in college, Webber admitted he did, in fact, pay Martin back and lied about it in court. All of Webber’s stats and accomplishments at Michigan were scrubbed from the school’s record books.
C-Webb was forced to remain apart from the university through 2013. Even after that, Webber kept his distance from the program. He and Rose in particular had a significant falling out. But over the past few years, Michigan and Webber have started to mend their relationship, as have Webber and Rose. It’s been a slow process, but eventually, the program’s most talented player began to drift back into the fold.
Now, the Fab Five will reunite to see Webber become a Hall of Famer, as he told Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“You’re going to see us together a lot. I’m very happy that those guys are coming to the Hall of Fame to be with me. … I am Michigan, they are Michigan, any alumni, they are Michigan. You’re going to see a lot of us, starting with the football game in a couple weeks. It’s definitely a process, a healing process and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”Chris Webber on the reunion of the Fab Five
A Fab Five reunion at the Hall of Fame ceremony is sure to tug on the heart strings of fans
That specific group of five teenagers was, and still is, iconic. The Fab Five changed the game. Literally.
Webber was the one who lost the most when the Martin scandal played out. Understandably, he’s been reluctant to throw himself back into the fold with a university that pretended he never existed. C-Webb was the team’s most talented player, but Rose was its heart and its leader, and when the relationship between those two fractured, everything just got worse.
But as the saying goes, time heals all wounds. Maybe for this group, time won’t heal all the wounds, but it’s clearly healed some, because five kids who changed the game 30 years ago split and are now coming back together to celebrate the triumph of one.