Chris Webber is one of the central figures in Michigan Wolverines basketball history. As part of the famous Fab 5, Webber nearly took the program back to a national championship.
The Fab 5 also made Michigan basketball as cool as the football program was in the mid-1990’s. However, a massive booster scandal tarnished much of what was accomplished on the basketball court.
Webber was a central figure in that scandal and the court battle that eventually went down. Things were extremely ugly and the University of Michigan’s 1992 and 1993 Final Four runs were stricken from official history. Additionally the Wolverines program wound up firing Steve Fisher, received a one-year postseason ban and were stripped of a scholarship for the 2002 season.
There was also a 10-year dissociation for all four players involved in the legal case and NCAA investigation. In the end, Webber’s association with Martin was the driving force behind all of it.
Following a 10-year NCAA mandated dissociation between the Fab 5 kingpin, Webber, and the school, nothing has seemed to improve the relationship on Webber’s part. In fact, earlier this week he decided to rain on the Big Ten tournament champions parade.
According to MLive.com, Webber had a lot to say about the program, while trying to hedge his bets for a player who came to Michigan from his AAU program in Detroit.
“And whether it’s a school that, for some reason, doesn’t embrace you and you did everything you could for them,” Webber told Rich Eisen on Monday, “you still look at those kids and you go, ‘Man, I cannot wait to see them guys fulfill their dreams.'”
What exactly is Webber’s current beef with Michigan? Are they not showing his massive ego enough love compared to the rest of the Fab 5 — Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson?
After all, all four of those former players have been welcomed back at various times in the past. They’ve all been able to kiss and make up, but Webber continues to hold some sort of grudge against a school that he perceived threw him under the bus after two years of playing for them.
There’s no doubt that there are hurt feelings on both sides, and that those feelings have boiled over in recent years. Webber began feuding with Rose and King after ESPN’s famed 30 for 30 did a documentary on the Fab 5 back in 2015.
After Webber fired off some personal attacks on Rose and King, calling them “Hollywood” and misrepresenting themselves and Webber, King fired back.
“I’m embarrassed, and I’m disappointed, in how he’s chosen to go about this,” King said in a 2015 radio interview, via College Basketball Talk. “I think he has personal issues. I think he likes a little drama, carrying on with certain things, as far as relationships are concerned, that could have been handled years ago. I think that it’s a personal flaw that he has.”
No one had more harsh words for Webber than Rose, who was once the closest person to Webber on the team.
“One dude lied to grand jury and hasn’t apologized,” said Rose in the same College Basketball Talk article. “One dude tried to circumvent the documentary to HBO. One dude ignored multiple requests from everyone involved after agreeing to participate. One dude played like (President) Obama and sat in a suite during Michigan’s recent title game. One dude slandered Ed Martin after all he did for him and his family. One dude is not in contact with the other four (which is all good). One dude has been doing a rebuttal doc for four years. One dude clearly is delusional and still in denial.”
We are now nearly two years removed from the 30 for 30 documentary and Webber still is taking shots at the program. He is still clearly unaware of what he chose to do and whom he chose to hurt in the process.
It is difficult to understand where Webber stands. It is also sad to see a grown man unable to admit the clear wrongdoing he did. Until then, does he really expect Michigan to welcome him with anything but closed doors?
Webber seems to believe that the University of Michigan and the athletic department did him wrong. Yet, it is actually Webber and his actions that did so many other people wrong.
His actions led to someone not getting a dream scholarship to the University of Michigan. His actions led to a post-season ban. His actions led to Steve Fisher getting fired. His actions led to the 10-year ban.
Given his total lack of understanding of the situation and his role in it, don’t expect Webber to kiss and make up with the Michigan basketball program at any point in the near future.
We’ll never say never to a make-up between the two sides. But, it sure likes that will happen closer to never than tomorrow and that is truly sad.