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Chris Webber Has Finally Been Welcomed Back Home At Michigan

Chris Webber was once the most celebrated basketball recruit to come out of the state of Michigan since Magic Johnson. As a member of The Fab Five at the University of Michigan from 1991 to 1993, he not only led them to back-to-back appearances in the national championship game, he spearheaded a cultural phenomenon that extended far beyond hoops.

Chris Webber (Michigan vs Ohio State) 1992 NCAA Regional Final

Chris Webber and the Fab Five take on Ohio State for the third time during the 1992 season in the NCAA Tournament Regional Final. For more rare video footage log onto www.arhenetwork.com.

Webber left Michigan after his sophomore season in 1993 to enter the NBA draft, becoming the first sophomore since Magic to be a #1 overall draft pick. Soon after being selected by the Orlando Magic and sent to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Penny Hardaway and three future first round draft picks, he was implicated in NCAA violations as a result of the improper cash benefits he received from booster Ed Martin. 

The NCAA imposed a 10-year ban on Webber from having any association with the Michigan program. While the ban had been lifted in 2013, the five-time NBA All-Star has not made any public appearances in Ann Arbor, on campus or at any sporting events.

He was unfairly ostracized over the years, receiving the bulk of the blame that should have been attributed to adults and the institution. Instead, Webber became the fall guy for something much bigger than his timeout blunder at the end of the ’93 championship game.

But thanks to Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, Webber will be back on Michigan’s campus in an official capacity this fall. 

Webber was making an appearance on The M Zone radio show on Friday when Harbaugh called in and asked the former Fab Five superstar if he would be willing to come back to serve as an honorary captain for one of the team’s home games in The Big House this year.

Michigan’s Fab 5 Mixtape

one of the most famous starting lineups of all time

C-Webb accepted on the spot.

“Coach, you know, that’s no problem. I’m definitely honored, and as you know, getting to speak to you over the years, I love what you’ve done with the program and good luck,” Webber said on the air. “Yeah, I’ll definitely be a part of it. Followed you guys going to, I think to Rome and all that good stuff. I heard you’re going to Africa next year, I’m going to try to jump in the suitcase with you guys. I would definitely be honored, Coach. You know, I would do anything for you. The No. 4’s at Michigan need to stick together.”

For those who’ve followed Webber’s relationship with the school since news of the Ed Martin scandal broke, and after he pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in 2002 for lying about his role in the ordeal, this is a very significant and gratifying development.

Jalen Rose Interviews Chris Webber Part 1

Jalen Rose Interviews Chris Webber On the Best Damn Sports Show Period

Webber was just a kid when he accepted Martin’s cash, and for him to have been portrayed as a villain was a wrong that had long needed to be corrected. Despite the great fanfare and ratings that the Fab Five ESPN 30-for-30 documentary received, for some the story will always remain incomplete because Webber refused to participate.

Just last week, former Fab Five member Jalen Rose made another in what has been a long line of pleas for Webber to come back into the Michigan fold.

“I love him. That’s my brother,” Rose said. “I don’t want people to feel like I’m upset or bitter with C-Webb or the University of Michigan. I love them both. I would love for (the Fab Five) to be in the same place, at the same time.”

Unlike Rose, those in positions of power at the university and within its athletics department continued to shun Webber over the years. But thanks to Harbaugh, now that’s changed.

Webber was not solely responsible for the program having to forfeit victories from the two years he spent on campus, and the subsequent removal of its 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners from Crisler Center.

Jalen Rose Interviews Chris Webber Part 2

Jalen Rose Interviews Chris Webber On the Best Damn Sports Show Period

The callousness of laying the blame solely on his shoulders still irks many who are familiar with the NCAA’s refusal to compensate players, despite the billions that they generate for the institution, conferences, coaches, administrators, television networks, advertisers and others who reap the financial windfalls.

Mad props to Jim Harbaugh, who had the audacity to step beyond Michigan’s long-accepted isolation of Webber in righting a wrong that was long overdue. And those Final Four banners won’t be seen again, but there’s nothing stopping the university from raising a banner that simply says Fab Five.

That won’t change the past, but it will give props to Webber and his teammates for all they accomplished on the court as Wolverines.

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