Jalen Rose is putting aside his intrastate rivalry with Michigan State to fly down to Atlanta on Monday to attend the national championship game in Magic Johnson's private jet. On Saturday, Rose recorded a special podcast with Bill Simmons and sounded off on the "elephant in the room". 75,000 fans will pack into the Georgia Dome, but all five members of the Fab 5 won't be there.
Friday was the 20th anniversary of the fateful "timeout" by Chris Webber that cost Michigan the national championship against North Carolina and next month the university's sanctions expire meaning the Fab 5 will be permitted to have an official relationship with the university. Webber will be in town, but only because he lives in Atlanta. The question is whether he'll be in the house on Monday night.
“While [Chris] loves us like brothers, and vice versa, there has been a communication separation that has basically taken place since we all were teammates. I think the timeout had a lot to do with it." Rose told Simmons.
“I think he wants to disassociate himself with that moment (the timeout), and with the school, in theory with us to kind of rebuild his life mentally to say, ‘My career really started my rookie year in the NBA.’” Rose continued.
Webber is also an NBA analyst for Turner Sports, which partnered with CBS for the NCAA Tournament, but he may also be the only member not to show up to cheer on Michigan.
The combination of his involvement with the Ed Martin scandal along with his mistake in the waning seconds of the '93 championship game have made him an estranged legend on the campus where he was once an icon. The NCAA has stricken the Fab 5 from the record books, but even Tim Hardaway Jr., who was a one-year-old when Webber was drafted by the Golden State Warriors understands their significance. According to Rose, he's been rockin' a "Free The Fab 5" shirt on around campus.
When I was going to elementary school on the mean streets of P.G. County, Maryland Webber lived a stone's throw away. He was pretty private, but once a month, my sister and I would drop a letter in his mailbox requesting tickets to Wizards games. Only time we saw him personally was on Halloween '98 when he opened the door, waved and retreated back into his home. Based on one of his most recent tweets, we already know he'll be with Michigan in spirit.
It's Your Time Now! twitter.com/realchriswebbe…
— Chris Webber (@realchriswebber) April 6, 2013
Hopefully, he responds to Jalen and emerges from his 20-year Wolverine hibernation to show these kids some love in person.