Jalen Talks About FabFive on Grantland Live

Submitted by Gameboy on March 22nd, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Grantland hosted a live video podcast all day yesterday. Jalen was there and they spent about 10 min talking about Fab Five.

Probably the most interesting tidbit is about how Jalen believes they would have won the whole thing if the Final Four was hosted anywhere but New Orleans (I will vouch for that, that weekend was CRAY!).


Bando Calrissian

March 22nd, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

So basically Jalen and co. would rather have had a bunch of plastic beads than a championship ring... And this is the same guy who can't go five minutes without complaining about the Fab Five not being recognized for their "legacy" at Michigan? 

It's time Jalen quit taking attention away from the guys playing today by dropping stories like this all the time. 

Bando Calrissian

March 22nd, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

You don't get rings or banners for "cultural effect." Also see: "moral victories."

They signed on to play college basketball knowing it was a big money enterprise. They accepted scholarships and room and board. They understood more than most that Michigan was pretty much the biggest merchandising power in college athletics at the time. 

You can't have it both ways. It's no secret if you sign a letter of intent to play college athletics, you're not going to get a cut of the profits. Tough love, but that's the system. It's been like that for a century. If they wanted to get paid, they could have done what was then the impossible and declared for the draft. And at that, Webber and maybe Jalen were the only two of the five who could have pulled it off anyway. 

And let's look at it this way: without the opportunities Michigan gave Jalen and the other four guys, would anybody still be talking about them today? In a lot of ways, they've capitalized on the brand just as much as the University did when they were in school.


March 22nd, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

You must not like Denard Robinson then?  Using your logic, Denard never meant anything to Michigan either.  He never won a B1G Championship.  He never won a National Championship.  He never won a Heisman.  

As far as the "opportunities Michigan gave Jalen and the other four guys", I think people would still be talking about Jalen, Webber, and Howard just as much as they're talked about today.  Michigan was not their only scholarship offers, so they could have gone somewhere else and had as much success in their careers as they did.  


March 22nd, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

These are some pretty flawed arguments. First, Denard was one of the biggest reasons we were able to pull out of the worst stretch in program history to win a BCS bowl and reestablish Michigan as a recruiting power and B1G heavyweight. Also, by every account, Denard is a fantastic young man who embodies everything good about college athletics and has forever endeared himself to Michigan fans. You could say he had some cultural effect, with the shoelaces and dreads. I can't count how many times he's had a feature on national TV. Oh, and it seems very unlikely that Denard's actions off the field will end up making the football program irrelevant for a decade.

As for the Fab Five, the reason they were such a phenomenon is that they did it together. If they each went their own way in college, they would have not made the cultural impact that they did and would be like any other retired players right now (providing regurgitated analysis on ESPN). 

I'm with some of the others here. The Fab Five is just a distraction from the current team at this point. It's obvious Rose is bitter about the lack of recogntion from the University, which will likely not come any time soon, if ever. Most of those guys have accomplished a lot over the last 20 years, they should focus on something else and move on, just like the University has.



March 22nd, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

You can say college basketball was a big money enterprise when they committed. That's true. But I don't think anybody understood just how big the money would get, and a lot of it directly on the back of the Fab Five. They were a phenomenon unlike anything seen before. I'm not sure I agree with Jalen, but I have no trouble seeing the source of his frustration.


March 23rd, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

You know, you can just say you don't like them. That's the entire basis for any and all arguments you've used. 

They did win something, because you get banners for Final Four appearances and being National Runner Up. So let's get that straight.

However, I have a feeling that had they won a national championship your argument would be that because it was vacated it doesn't matter.

The Fab Five is indelibly intertwined in Michigan athletics. If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad a Michigan. Michigan cheated. Michigan ruined their basketball program for a decade plus. Not Chris Webber, and not the 2nd incarnation of the Fab Five. If Michigan would have exhibited some modicum of control over their basketball program (which was reportedly dirty dating back as far as the Bill Frieder years) then none of that stuff would have happened.

Just as Michigan has done a lot for the Fab Five, the Fab Five did a lot for Michigan. Jalen serves as a mentor for a lot of Michigan athletes, even today. He is also an extremely positive representative of the University. I'm happy that he is associated with our school.


March 23rd, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

I really believe had they won the title they wouldn't have vacated the games. It hasn't changed much, but particularly in that era the NCAA soft-pedaled championship teams. They were regularly getting in trouble but they almost never took away titles. They liked hammering the little guy,

You can argue that it's a horribly unfair way to do things, but I think if they had beat NC we'd have a banner and a program that got sanctioned but punished in other ways than having games revoked. And what happened and the feelings after would be way different.


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:25 AM ^

Besides our game, Grantland live was my favorite thing to happen yesterday. Hilarious to listen to and Simmons always has great historical facts he'll throw out and Jalen told some ridiculous stories. Looking forward to it again today.


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

This is very interesting.  I do remember him driving a crappy sedan around school at first.  However, FWIW, I also vividly remember seeing him driving a brand new GMC Yukon down State Street (chewing on the string of his hooded sweatshirt) during his junior year.



March 22nd, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

Jalen wasn't the only one with a brand new GMC Yukon.  I saw at least 3 of those (all the same color) roll up to Chrisler before every game, always parked together.  I assumed it was Rose, Howard and Webber, but I never confirmed.   Maybe it was his junior year and it was Rose Howard and King.  I can't remember for sure,  but I know there were 3 guys on the team that had them.  I always thought that was a bit fishy.


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

Cool interview, thanks for posting.  Interesting his thoughts on New Orleans.  In a way that pisses me off, to think these guys are partying and staying up REALLY late and that's why they lost.  But really, they're kids, and they probably won even more games hungover/tired/etc than we will ever know.


March 22nd, 2013 at 2:19 PM ^

Remember that the Fab Five got told how great they were every day.  They were only sophomores, and still thought they were indestructible.  It was a lot "cooler" for athletes to party back then, and everybody wanted to party with them.  There was no such thing as a viral smartphone video, and the internet wasn't popular yet.  They had a coach who allowed them to do whatever they wanted off court, as long as they produced on the court.

In other words, as long as they could perform on the court, the Fab Five could party with impunity, and they did.  I haven't hidden my disdain for Chris Webber, but I think a lot of the "credit" for all of this goes to the overwhelmed, "happy just to be here" Steve Fisher.  

Fisher was just what the 1989 NCAA Tournament Champions needed for six games.  He gave a team that was smothered on the court by Bill Frieder the room it needed to breathe and perform.  The problem was that Fisher was totally overwhelmed by the job of managing all of those great players who played in Ann Arbor in the following years.  

I have mixed emotions here, and always have.  Players deserve a piece of the pie, and the NCAA is a corrupt system that cheats players out of their share.  But the bottom line is that Chris Webber broke the rules, and turned the culture of the team into one whose first stop on recruiting visits was Ed Martin.  Steve Fisher hired Perry Watson because he felt Watson could deliver Webber and Rose.  It worked, but Watson also "delivered" Ed Martin.  

Webber was a kid then, but he is an adult now.  If he would simply apologize for what he did and be honest about it, I think most MIchigan fans would welcome him back.  Instead, he is arrogant, bitter, and unrepentant.  Webber seems to think of himself as a victim and a martyr.  

If Chris Webber can't be big enough to accept responsibility for his own mistakes and address them in a forthright manner, bringing him back would violate everything Michigan supposedly stands for. 

I don't think I'm ready for that quite yet.

Bando Calrissian

March 22nd, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^


Also keep in mind that Fisher had followed up the '89 championship with an underwhelming two-year stretch in which he didn't recruit particularly well (particularly missing out on Eric Montross, whose dad and grandfather played for Michigan and whose sister was on the softball team) and coached the teams to rather underwhelming results on the court.

The 1991 recruiting class needed to be a home run, and they needed to win once they got there, or else Fisher probably would have mediocred himself out the door. If you look at the big picture that way, and what happened over the next six years, it's pretty easy to see where it all went wrong.


March 23rd, 2013 at 2:10 AM ^

the comments and speculations that happen in the interwebs.  Maybe you were on campus and got to know some of the Fab 5 and have a solid perspective, maybe not.  I was and did.  Maybe you were 18 years old and one of the most gifted athletes in your sport and watched people around you make millions of you "likeness".  I was not, but got to know some of them very well.  And you're right, something has to be done, but I'll admit to not being smart to know what that is.

I deserve to be fact checked, but Watson led Southwestern to the state championship game 10 times in 11 years and Jalen was the key to delivering his first title.  Watson offered a solid coaching pedigree and pipeline to Detroit talent.  He didn't deliver Ed Martin (and neither did Webber).  Martin was a basketball junkie who knew these guys before they got to high school - and every other top junior high and AAU ball player.  You think he wasn't close to Voshon Lenard?

Three people know what happened between Ed Martin and Chris Webber.  The two of them and God.  And Jalen hasn't been bashful about telling the world Ed Martin helped him out financially.

We all need to let it go.  They were super talented 19 year olds that changed college basketball forever.  They were ours, fantastic to watch and good people if you were fortunate to know them.  And if you want to be mad, start talking more about Bullock, Taylor and Traylor who are documented as the most egregious abusers of the Martin gravy train.

My 2 cents.


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

That was very interesting to listen to. I love Jalen and he is a great story teller. But I also think as I am watching this as I did with the Fab Five 30 for 30 that this is all his perspective. I am sure that a lot of other people from Michigan view what happened in a very different light than Jalen does. But we will never see Mary Sue Coleman or the bench players from the fab five era on Grantland.


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

"Does Eric Riley get on the banner as well?"   The only thing funnier than that was Jalen's shirt: Detroit vs. Everybody

I love hearing Jalen tell stories about his playing days.  He seems like a great dude.  


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:59 AM ^

a banner just for the fab 5, that says "fab 5"?  I love the fab 5 but a banner is for team accomplishments IMO and honoring retired numbers and HOF coaches/announcers.  A mural, a spot on crisler center displaying their accomplishments and "legacy", sure! A banner that says "Fab 5 - Sweet Ass Freshman Chemistry"? No


March 22nd, 2013 at 12:04 PM ^

Not necessarily for their accomplishments, which were great for 5 freshmen, but for their significance.  

There was so much excitement around the basketball program, it was incredible.  They were like the Beatles.  

There had never been a class of freshmen like that in NCAA basketball history.  There probably never will be.  That's significant.  


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:59 AM ^

I had to +1 you because I couldn't let it stand as moderated (trolling).  Why the hell would someone say this is trolling?  

I agree with you.  I think what Jalen suggests in the video is a nice, appropriate gesture.  It doesn't recognize anyone by name.  It doesn't retire anyone's number.  It only marks their significance in Michigan's basketball history.  Nothing more. 


March 22nd, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

Was better than watching most of the games yesterday.  I didn't get a whole lot done at work when that was on.  

Kudos to him also for the school he started. 


March 22nd, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

I can never hate the Fab Five, that was the most exciting, fun basketball I've ever seen.  Even better than Magic's Showtime (Ive always lived in LA besides college) and Westphal's LMU (only time I ever rooted against Michigan).  I'm sure it also helps that my exodus from caring about sports matches up almost exactly with Michigan's down years in basketball


March 23rd, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

I didn't know SImmons did this live webcast thing.  Thats pretty cool.  And is that a Stillwater shirt he's wearing?  I have to get one of those.  Almost Famous was a good flick.