Question about Chris Webber

Submitted by RollDamnTide on February 22nd, 2012 at 9:13 PM

From an outsider, I was curious what the general feeling about Chris Webber was. After the ban imposed by the NCAA, will you as the Michigan fans welcome him back with open arms? Or will you require an explanation and an apology from him before you are ready to make nice? I ask solely about Webber, because it seems the rest of the group have embraced being accepted back by the Michigan family a great deal more than Webber. 

As a basketball fan, I loved the Fab 5, regardless of what happened afterwards, they changed the game. Sorry if this has been talked about ad nauseum, but being an outsider, I was very curious. 


snarling wolverine

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:17 PM ^

Webber's actually the only member of the Fab Five who was implicated in the NCAA scandal. The other three players involved were here later on.  

It'll be interesting.  The ban ends a year from now, I believe, but it seems like the school would like him to issue some kind of apology.  The other four members of the Fab Five seem to be trying to bridge the gap.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:17 PM ^

Really tough question.

I was at Michigan during that era.  In fact, I knew Webber, casually.  So I have a lot of nostalgia for that era.

That said....Webber has made it tough to forgive him.  If he had come out, revealed everything, explained his mistakes...I think it would be easier to forgive and forget.  The other guys have all been honest about their time...but Chris simply can't do it.  He feels betrayed, but doesn't see that betrayal works both ways.

So I don't know.  Even now.  I think overall, the fan base is ambivalent. 


February 23rd, 2012 at 9:15 AM ^

does not believe that he has anything to be forgiven about.  Webber believes he has been honest, he just does not have the same perception of what that means as Michigan fans do.  he believes he has admitted (or at a minimum been was entirely outed) as to what was taking place, but he simply does not believe that what he engaged in entitles Michigan fans or anybody to an apology.  If Michigan fans want Webber back in the fold, they have to stop makng it contingent, they have to stop identifying Webber's defiance or lack of remorse as the reason the Michigan basketball community cannot be totally cleansed of the sins of the past.  If he is accepted it is going to have to be as is, take it or leave it.  Personally, I think it should be left.  Webber was a part of what was a great experience while it was happenning but he was not the only part of it.  He does not need to be back as part of the program to vindicate Jilmmy King's involvement.  King's (or Rose's, or Howard's) involvement is every bit as important and may actually be tainted by the presence of somebody who acts with the amount of entitlement that has come to define Webber's personality.  Webber and Michigan went through a horrible breakup, a messy divorce, and I don't think that they can be just "friends" now.  I think all would be best to leave it alone.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:21 PM ^

Personally - I love Webber.  I still wear my maize #4 bball jersey with Webber on the back.  I cheered for him with the Kings, and the 76ers, and loved the short time he had with the Pistons (even though he didn't have knees anymore).  He was the most exciting basketball player ever, at a time when MJ was in his prime. 

I'd love for him to come back to the program and be a part of it, and I hope he's welcomed back if that ever happens.

EDIT:  A couple years ago, the Alumni Association of LA did a Clippers-Pistons night at Staples, and I wore said jersey to the game.  I got a lot of positive comments from the other UM alums in the group.  I didn't get any negative comments, but that could have been out of courtesy more than anything else. 


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

I will welcome him back with open arms. My first memories of Michigan sports were watching the Fab 5 in the Final Four as a very little kid. I believe the program had a longer period of required disassociation with Webber than with the others, and this is why neither has acknowledged each other publicly.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

him, forgave him, have no ill feeling towards him. My favorite NCAA, NBA player of all time. I loved watching him play from 91-92 till he retired from the Golden State Warriors. I wish he would admit what he did so he could come back and be around after his 10 year ban is lifted and be loved like Jalen, Jimmy, Ray, and Juwan are all treated today. C- Webb for President 2016


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:58 PM ^

The guy was given a penalty, paid the price...long over due. He was an absolute beast player, most of my memories of Michigan basketball evolve around Mr. Webber. I don't think the University and him will make amends anytime soon...I don't see Brandon bringing him back to the arena/game for a long time. I think there will unfortunately always be a black cloud around Webber and UM...


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

The ban ends this year but as far as I was aware, I thought the school wants some sort of acknowledgement from him before they accept him back in any official way. I don't see them ever really coming together.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:46 PM ^

What do you think it was that he did wrong/upsets people? Because while I like him there are parts of it that make it hard for me to empathize with him. I feel like there are a lot of younger people that don't even understand what the issues were. I'm a student now and I would say most of my friends couldn't tell you what Chris Webber did other than, "He took money."

Zone Left

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:50 PM ^

I think a lot of it is imagined, but he did take a lot of cash from Ed Martin.

What I could never figure out was why Martin was giving people money. The sheer amount of money suggests he wanted a big payback from NBA money, but I've never read about him getting anything back. If he had $280,000 (per Wikipedia, so it must be true) to give to Webber, it's not he needed the cash. He appears to not have been some type of street agent funneling prospects to Michigan--he seemed more like a ridiculous booster for Detroit Southwestern. 

There are just so many unanswered questions and Martin can't answer anymore. I'd love to learn Webber's side of the story, but I'm not holding my breath.

Zone Left

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:59 PM ^

Yeah, I know all about it. It's just bizarre. He was doing it before Webber and was throwing money around Southwestern for a long time without really getting anything out of it.

Maybe he just lucked into a lucrative scam and couldn't figure out how to save all that cash.


February 22nd, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

If you give the money away you really don't have to hide it.  It also isn't much of a criminal enterprise if at the end of the day you don't keep the cash.

Martin was a hanger-on who wanted to feel important.  He tried the same shit at Iowa but either got rebuffed eventually or the coach he had a relationship with got fired (memory is a little shaky on that).  Frieder and Fisher both cultivated the relationship and gave Martin the access he craved (tickets, locker room access, hotels, etc.).  In return their kids got taken care of and high school players were encouraged to enroll at Michigan.  It probably would have continued indefinitely if the car being used to show Mateen Cleaves a good time hadn't flipped over.

Zone Left

February 22nd, 2012 at 10:13 PM ^

I have no problem with Terrelle Pryor selling his autograph/jersey. None at all. I think the NCAA rules are basically arbitrary and stupid. I begrudge no one for taking advantage of a situation like that. Change Terrelle Pryor to Denard Robinson and I'd wager most of this board would argue the same thing. I don't know that there's a fix for it short of paying 18 year-old kids six figures for attending a public school (I'm not in favor of this), but there has to be a way to let players who make enormous profits for their schools get some cash money.

Personally, the free education argument is pretty weak for me. FBS football players are essentially professional athletes with class attendance as a stipulation in their contracts. Plenty of them take advantage of it and move onto great things after football, but there's no way Denard gets anywhere near his economic value to U of M.


February 22nd, 2012 at 11:08 PM ^

I can't speak for anybody else, but there is no way I'd defend Denard if he sold his stuff.  That's cheating and only lowers us to the levels of Auburn, Ohio State, etc.  I don't understand how the free education is a weak argument either.  They're giving them an education that many of these athletes could never get without athletics.  It would cost about 160k to get a Michigan education if you lived out-of-state, and that's not including the stipend that the athletes get.  As an added bonus, they get publicity that could later help them land a job (possibly commentating or running their own business as people will feel they are 'more trustworthy' since they are a celebrity) and a chance to advance to the next level of athletics.  Life is more about money and scholarship athletes are given life experiences that many would never have in return for playing a sport for the school who will earn money off of it.  People are too greedy now-a-days.


February 23rd, 2012 at 7:53 AM ^

You nailed it for me.  If college athletes are in it for an education, they get paid with an education.  If they are in it to make it to the pro's, they get the exposure and free training to accomplish that.  Both of those things have a high price tag.  I know of no other profession where you can get training and that kind of exposure for free.  People who think these players get taken advantage of are off-base if you ask me. 


February 23rd, 2012 at 9:33 AM ^

The fact that he (and the entire fan base) always acted like he was some beacon of morals was such horseshit.  I was just glad he was exposed as the hypocrite that he is.  He was just trying to win football games like everyone else.

Between his days at YSU, Clarett, players starting their first games back after DUI's (Alex Boone was so drunk that he passed out at the wheel and smashed into a parked car on campus), Ray Small getting 9 second chances, Rob Rose and Ray Small somehow magically becoming eligible by completing course work 2 weeks after the quarter had ended, and covering up the tat scandal. 

I couldn't have cared less about the players getting free tattoos and selling their stuff.  It was all about Vest lying, gettting caught, and STILL trying to cover it up, then the university acting like they had come clean from the start.


February 23rd, 2012 at 12:27 AM ^

I'm not mad at him for taking the money; I'm mad that he didn't admit it.

I love that he did great things for the school while he was here; I hate that he left the school in a bad position.

That said, not everyone would have done what he did.  Our football players don't take money, as professionals we don't (I hope) break our contracts.  Webber did just that: he broke his contract.  Was it a fair contract? No.  But he signed it, and he had an obligation to obey it.

That being said, I don't hate him.  I love him the way someone loves the ex that got away: you will always love them, but you'll perhaps never forgive them for that one mistake.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:24 PM ^

his top 10 greatest plays of all time last night on You Tube, and wow never seen a big man with his hands, power, explosion, and whatever else kind of words you wanna use to desribe the best all around power forward off all time.

Johnny Blood

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:43 AM ^

Knee injuries really hampered his career.  It's not going to help his case with the Hall of Fame or anything like that, but if he had stayed healthy, he certainly had the tools to be one of the best ever.  His NBA rookie year was ridiculous. 


February 23rd, 2012 at 9:37 AM ^

I'm not sure if he'll make it, but I won't say that he won't come close.  He averaged 20 pts and 9 boards for his career.  He was the best power forward in the game for at least a 5 year span.  There's also an argument that he was the best passing big man of all time.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:24 PM ^

during his playing days, I thought he demonstrated enough humility and had enough class for a superstar college kid. However, he does need to apologize somehow, and he hasn't. The power of an apology that is genuine, where he is accountable for his own actions, is priceless, and goes a long way to healing wounds. Since he refuses to provide one, his legend is tainted. I would love to talk with him and discuss how he could apologize to the Michigan faithful, and better preserve his legacy, and salvage more respect from observers. Why he has not done that is a mystery to me. 

Frank Drebin

February 23rd, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

I am not sure that Webber wants to admit that he perjured himself in front of a grand jury. He and his father never came out and admitted that they took the $280,000 from Martin or ever repaid the $38,000 Martin said he received back from Webber. Even though Webber pleaded to criminal contempt, he never admitted his wrong doings. Nothing could happen to him regarding this case if he were to come clean now, but I don't think it would make him look any better after lying to a grand jury.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:26 PM ^

Welcome him back, for sure. He was my favorite basketball player growing up. Obviously the scandal sucks, but because it's not football, as ridiculous as that sounds, I can deal with it.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 PM ^

improvised to get he and the school back into each other's official good graces one of these days. It'll likely be a bit awkward and unrevealing, but hey. . . 

I'm more looking forward to a really candid telling by him of the saga, probably still pretty far in the future. He's a very bright but interestingly guarded guy. Maybe he's protecting his parents a little? 

I really regret the way money has seeped into the college game. Some things get designated as officially corrupt or unacceptable, some don't, but it's a more generalized problem. For me, it's hard to get angry at the kids. 


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 PM ^

I firmly believe that there have never been a group of college athletes more exploited than the Fab 5. A lot of people made a lot of money off of them, and it seemed crazy that they would never see any of it. This is no me stumping for college athletes to be paid, because quite honestly I'm not in favor of it. But the Fab 5 just was the sensation in college sports, that will never be seen again. Also, I don't blame the University, it's not their fault the players became the mega hits that they did. Speaking for myself, it would drive me crazy that my jersey number, and black socks, and t shirts were making others millions, the system be damned.


February 22nd, 2012 at 10:16 PM ^

I think a lot of the negative reaction to Webber comes from people viewing him as a phony and a hypocrite, and this issue is at the forefront of that.  When Webber left after his sophomore year, he essentially said that he had to bolt because the school was profiting but he was broke. 

Acting like you are the victim of heartless oppression when in fact you have brought in a quarter of a million dollars under the table is kind of ridiculous.  Webber wasn't a victim of the system.  He exploited/abused the system for maximum profit, and then bolted as soon as possible to make close to $100 million as an NBA player.  He also didn't come from nearly as difficult a background as guys like Howard and Rose to begin with, so pleading poverty and playing the victim don't ring near as true coming from him. 

These are things that make me view Webber in a much more negative light than the other Fab 5 members, or any of the other guys who took Martin's money along the way. 


February 22nd, 2012 at 11:32 PM ^

But still, they had to know that as soon as their free education was over they were going to get paid way more than they ever could get under the table. Sure it would suck to know that people were making money off you at the current time, but in just a few years you were going to get an NBA contract, shoe/clothing contract, etc. I know its hard for kids to be able to delay millions of dollars, but to put your whole university at risk just so you can get some cash is an immature move.


I'm not saying that I don't like the fab five, in fact I love them. Thanks to them I'm not wearing John Stockton shorts. I just wish they hadn't thrown the university under the bus. Had they not done that, the amazing season the team is having now could have been the norm rather than an amazing return to glory.


All I want from Webber is an appology and I'll be just fine accepting him back.

Section 1

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 PM ^

I have some belief in forgiveness and reconciliation.

But Webber has shown an increasingly shitty attitude throughout the entire scandal that was almost uniquely his to own.  Michigan's basketball scandal had nothing to do with coaches breaking recruiting rules, or schools falsifying grades, or any other institutional cheating.  It was pure, personal greed on the part of Ed Martin and a handful of stupid, seflish, greedy players, principally including Webber.  And the co-dependency of Bill Frieder* and  Steve Fisher.

When Webber says he's sorry, and shows that he's sorry, and comes up with a better attitude, then I'd think about it.  That would be a better day for all concerned if that happened.  I don't really expect it; but maybe Jalen will intervene.

You have to cut Webber some slack insofar as he faced real jeopardy of federal imprisonment until Ed Martin kicked the bucket.  A guy deserves the chance to do what he needs to do to stay out of jail.  Not that that is much of a "Michigan Man" qualification; escaping imprisonment.  But he's out of federal criminal jeopardy now.  No more excuses.

*Not formally implicated in Michigan's NCAA basketball violations.  But clearly as compromised as Fisher.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 PM ^

I would love to see Webber "back in the fold" so to speak. Given the complicated nature of the issues involved, I don't think we should expect a full apology, but I would like to see him speak publicly on the purgery charges.

On top of that, I'd like to see him give an "I'm sorry for what happened with the NCAA" type gesture. IMO, he doesn't need to admit fault or apologize for what he did, but he should make it known that he regrets how everything turned out.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:38 PM ^

Seriously, though, I can understand Webber's feelings. I don't want him to say a bunch of things he doesn't believe to be welcomed back, but he should express some regret for the way things turned out, even if he still feels he wasn't in the wrong.

spock n roll

February 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 PM ^

His recruitment is the first one I ever noticed (I was in eighth grade).  Mostly, I just regret that he didn't turn out better than he did -- he had all the physical tools to be one of the twenty best basketball players ever but was just missing some killer instinct.  So much more talented than Barkley or Malone or Duncan.


February 22nd, 2012 at 9:32 PM ^

The greatest Michigan player to ever wear the block M?  Yeah....I'll welcome him back.  Those two years were beyond amazing and I would love to get them back.