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ESPN 30 for 30: The Fab Five


Chris Webber. Jalen Rose. Juwan Howard. Jimmy King. Ray Jackson.

The ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the 1991 Michigan recruiting class known as the Fab Five covered the journey of the five infamous freshmen that took over NCAA basketball culture. Personally, there’s not even much I can really say about the TV film. I thought it was incredible and a great look at the time period of Michigan basketball from its rise in ’91 to it’s decline that turned up again well into the 21st century.

The only significant question mark held up to the film was the absence of former Sacramento Kings all-star forward Chris Webber.

ESPN was able to track down and interview all of the other more prolific members of the Michigan basketball program during that time, but apparently, C Webb declined the invitation to participate in the making of the film.

That being said, I don’t want to make Chris Webber out to be a bad person for not being a part of it because as I continued to watch I realized why he probably would not have wanted to be involved in the project. I’m sure even to this day he hasn’t let that infamous timeout slip his mind and has probably only discussed that with a very select few individuals. Near the end of the documentary, his teammate Jimmy King added that he still hasn’t asked Chris about what was going through his mind when he made that timeout call.

That entire second half of the documentary made me feel pretty bad for Chris and how things ended up; with Michigan losing that championship game to North Carolina. But one thing I thought was funny and very very true was when Jalen Rose made the statement that in the grand scheme of things, that play didn’t mean anything as far as their professional legacy. He proposed the question for those watching to recall who won the NCAA championship each year within the last 10 years and if they could name the starting lineup of the UNC team that beat them in 1992.

Personally, I have no idea and truthfully I could care less.

Speaking of legacy, I never like when the NCAA makes players pay for incidents outside of the playing field–especially years after the fact. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Webber never set foot on Michigan’s campus again or was never again seen wearing any Michigan paraphernalia.It seems ridiculous to now say that what happened with the Fab Five in the 90’s just didn’t exist and that everyone is just supposed to forget all about what happened. Taking events out of the record books makes no sense to me because it’s essentially just the NCAA telling me that I didn’t see anything when I was clearly standing right there in front of it.

All in all, the film was great and even had special guest appearances from the likes of Ice Cube among others. I would definitely recommend taking the time to watch it if for some reason you missed it.

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