Anybody feeling the Fab Five right about now, as we approach the Final Four of the 2103 NCAA championship games. That legendary University of Michigan team comprised of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King represent Michigan’s last hope since 1993 for winning it all. Now 20 years later, all of the memories are resurfacing, and with them a tide of emotions.
“That excitement, really just being nostalgic. When I thought about it, it made me more excited than I have been in a long time,” says Jimmy King.
This weekend in Atlanta, a new pack of Wolverines will make the school’s first Final Four appearance since 1993, when they face Syracuse, and the hope is that they will never know the tragedy and scandal that befell their predecessors.
Although that phenomenal group of players forever changed the way college basketball would be played, bringing an unprecedented level of finesse and boldness with their style of play, they also brought shame to the game and caused nearly irreparable damage to Michigan’s athletic program with layer upon layer of scandal.
Chris Webber is remembered most prominently for the beginning of the end of that glorious era, because of his infamous connection to now deceased Michigan booster Ed Martin. According to a federal indictment, Martin lent Webber hundreds of thousands of dollars while he was at U of M.
Michigan inevitably faced sanctions, forfeited victories, removed both of the Fab Five’s Final Four banners from the arena’s rafters, and did all it could to erase the Fab Five from the school’s history and the fans’ memories.
Webber who received a 10-year ban from partcipating in Michigan basketball is still officially precluded from participating in Michigan sports events until May of 2013. However Webber, who lives in Atlanta, is free to attend the Final Four as a fan.
Whatever the outcome of the game, although we predict a victory for Michigan, there is no doubt that Webber, Rose, King, Howard and Jackson will at some point be remembered for the winners they once were.
True Michigan fans will never forget.