Whitlock and Illini have beef with Fab 5 doc

Submitted by MaizeAndHonoluluBlue on March 15th, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Just read a short article on ESPN about Illini players complaining that they started the baggy shorts, not the Fab 5.


More interesting though, is Jason Whitlock's article about the movie.

He claims it's more Jalen Rose's fantasy than documentary, defends Coach K's "Uncle Toms" and calls the Fab 5 sellouts.

Worth a read if you have a few minutes to spare.




March 15th, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

If there's a sports topic, and there's a chance that it involves racial undertones, there's at least an equal chance that Whitlock has a beef with it.  Also, he eats a lot of beef. 


March 15th, 2011 at 8:18 PM ^

Two quick points on this subject. One, who in the hell pays any attention to anything Illinois does. They could have worn orange construction cones on their heads and not a fuck would be given. Two, Whitlock ate Uncle Tom. This bloated bumb actually thinks the public reacted to Lebron's decision circus the way it did because of race. He should have the race card tattooed on his forearm.


March 15th, 2011 at 8:22 PM ^

Jason Whitlock is unreadable and an idiot. He has some charisma but his articles have become unreadable.

In this case he says the Fab 5 were style over substance even though they made 2 final fours with a starting team of 18 and 19 year olds and were a fluke away from winning the second time around.

He also essentially called Jimmy King an uncle tom.


March 15th, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

Everyone knows the Fab Five weren't the first with baggy shorts. MJ had them (but not as long as the Fab Five) and so did Arkansas. The Fab Five did popularize them more than anyone else though. So shove it Illinois, no one gives a flying fuck.

03 Blue 07

March 15th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

The fab five had them in 1991. Arkansas 2 years later, in 93-94, when they switched to the unis with stripes that ran vertically and split and fanned out on the shorts. So, no, your Arkansas statement isn't correct. I'd embed photos but I'm lazy and am generally bad at embedding.


March 15th, 2011 at 8:34 PM ^

Who gives two shits about Illinois? Sure they might have worn them earlier (remains to be seen), but the fab 5 made em famous. That's what matters.

And who the fuck is Jason Whitlock?
Jalen's fantasy? What is more plausible, 2 hours of a documentary, or the idiotic ramblings of a B-grade writer?


March 15th, 2011 at 8:34 PM ^

Whitlock is usually pretty good, but again you have a writer who knows better cherry picking to fit his agenda.

Rose's "Uncle Tom" and Laetner's a bitch comments were retold as what he thought when he was 18.  He explained how he was angry and jealous.  He explains himself beautifully so you can see it from the eyes of a poor kid in the ghetto.  He was wrong he said it several times during his media blitz, but he was honest as to how he felt at the time.

Whitlock cherry picks this to make Rose look bad.  I hate when writers give incomplete facts to frame their argument.  Whitlock said he worked in Ann Arbor it sure sounds like he worked for the Freep.

The shame of it is he has a decent point in the article, but he loses me when I know he's not balancing both sides  and he knows it. Poor job Jason/



March 15th, 2011 at 9:35 PM ^

I live in Kansas City and am pretty sure he was writing here during the Fab Five days so he has no clue what was going on in their heads in lives at that point! Whitlock is a hack who only tries to press the race card b/c he can't actually write a good article. As far as Illinois goes...stop crying! They did wear baggy shorts before Michigan but nobody knew about it.The Fab Five popularized it and made it a trend. Something they couldn't do. If i remember right the Illinois team in question didnt even make the finals that year. Michigan did and won the whole thing!


March 15th, 2011 at 10:19 PM ^

Whitlock was hired away from the Ann Arbor News to work in KC I think.  He was around for the majority of the Fab Five years.


Speaking more on the column... Whitlock talks about Jalen's lack of self awareness and "style over substance".  That could also be said about his columns nowadays.


March 15th, 2011 at 9:48 PM ^

Great detective work there.  I was wondering about that first photo - the uniform looks a little too nice to be from the late '80s.  I don't think they had those fancy jersey numbers, for instance.

Mitch Cumstein

March 15th, 2011 at 8:47 PM ^

"He claims it's more Jalen Rose's fantasy than documentary"


Putting aside the Illini's beef.  This quote might have some truth to it.  It was very pro-fab5.  Its easy to see a much more negative documentary about the same events.  Also seeing as Jalen works for the channel that produced it, its not that much of a stretch.


March 15th, 2011 at 9:00 PM ^

It's from the perspective of the players. Sure it could have been much less favorable in the Ed Martin portion, but this was more about the culture of the Fab 5 and how they were in college and how they changed the game. The only really legitimate gripe is that Webber didn't say anything about it or participate in any way.


March 15th, 2011 at 9:26 PM ^

I thought the film was a pretty honest account.  It didn't seem to omit much.  It talked about Ed Martin, and Rose even admitted taking "a couple grand" from him even though he never was named in the NCAA report.  It mentioned Rose's ticket in the drug raid, which was a major controversy at the time (but has been mostly forgetten since and could have been swept under the rug).  It showed some of the most brash trash-talking,  showed Webber cursing out cameramen, showed them acting like babies in Europe, showed Rose  (presumably underage at the time) slamming a 40 at a frat party . . . if you came into this movie with a negative view of the Fab Five, I'm not sure it would have changed your opinion.  

The one "fantasy" aspect of the film I can buy is that Rose may have glossed over Ed Martin's shadiness.  They did include Webber's denunciation of Martin, but portrayed it in a way to make Webber look like a liar.  Yeah, another documentary might have stressed just how ill-gotten that money was and how Martin was a scumbag.  But aside from that, I don't know that  it would show much else differently.

Mitch Cumstein

March 15th, 2011 at 9:35 PM ^

I guess in my mind the major area where they could have given differing accounts was in the outside people that came in and gave commentary.  For example,  I don't buy Mitch Albom's assertion that CWeb couldn't have possibly  gotten paid until after the final four.  I'm sure there are people with differing opinions on things like that.  Yet they bring in Albom as if he was just an objective observer.

Also, they really sold that UNC team short.  I mean, its one thing to assert that you were the better team yet lost (as Jalen does over and over), but that team was solid and pretty much led the whole way in that game.  As a poster mentions above, being told through the eyes of the fab5, I guess that makes sense.  But if thats the case, why have Albom giving his fluff all over the documentary?  Why not just keep it to the 5 to tell the story?


March 15th, 2011 at 10:04 PM ^

I don't know if I fully buy Albom's explanation either, but no one else has ever come forward to contradict that, and he's the only one to have written a book on them, so he's basically all we've got to report on that (other than Webber himself, obviously). 

As for UNC, while Jalen himself certainly believed that they were inferior, I thought they still made it clear that it was an extremely hard-fought game.  They showed several UNC baskets, Webber getting knocked to the floor, etc.  They noted that we were behind at the half and at the time of the timeout.  To be honest, I agree with Jalen - I think we had the best team in the country that year.  UNC was a solid team, but they certainly didn't have as much overall talent.  We didn't play our best game.  Someone linked the box score the other day - it was basically Webber and King that played well.  Rose, Howard and Jackson all struggled and the bench didn't do much (other than Pelinka making a couple threes). 


March 16th, 2011 at 12:19 AM ^

I think the game was lost on the bracketing. The 2nd best team and the one that scared me was Kentucky. And we had the last Primetime game against them that was a complete war, while NC had already finished with a subpar Kansas team (that we beat easily by double digits in Hawaii). If the regions had been reversed, we would have rocked Kansas and rested while NC would have burned themselves out besting Kentucky, if they even could. We looked tired on one day's rest after finishing late in one of the all time great college basketball Tournament games, and I think some of our guys didnt have the legs or same focus.


March 15th, 2011 at 9:04 PM ^

that they pioneered wearing baggy shorts.  It was even made mention in the documentary that they wanted to "be like Mike."  The point is that the Fab Five revolutionized wearing baggy shorts.