When winning isn’t everything: Wherefore art thou, the real Fab Five?

I heard a great point the other day.  I wish I could remember who brought it up first.  My apologies to whomever it was but please allow me to build upon that premise.

The Fab Five

Last week, John Beilein coached his University of Michigan Wolverines all the way back to the championship game.  It marked the first time in twenty years the school had been there.  It also marked the twentieth anniversary of the time out heard ‘round the world.

The Fab Five of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson had themselves quite a basketball team in the early 1990s.  They made it to back-to-back NCAA title games, winning neither of them, losing one to Duke and the other to North Carolina.

But they were a cultural phenomenon.  Three of the five (Rose, Webber and Howard) went on to have very respectable NBA careers.

All we heard prior to this year’s national championship game, two decades later, was whether the Fab Five would attend the game together, since some of them (mainly Webber) no longer speak to each other after the fallout that vacated those two title appearances.  On basically every ESPN broadcast known to man, Jalen Rose made a plea to Webber to put all that had happened behind them in an effort to support their school as they went against the favored Louisville Cardinals.

Rumeal Robinson free throw

There was never, however, any coverage of the only Michigan team to actually win a national championship.  They are the forgotten ones.  Glen Rice, Rumeal Robinson. Loy Vaught, Terry Mills, Sean Higgins, what about those guys?  How come they didn’t have their fair share of face time?  After all, they’re the ones with the hardware.

I didn’t see a single interview with any of those guys, especially Rumeal Robinson whose two free throws at the end of that 1989 game were as clutch as you’ll ever see, yet CBS’s coverage was quick to capture the fashionable and far more, high-profile Webber as he exited his SUV.

Perhaps we should all take a time out (Sorry, C-Webb) and acknowledge the band of Wolverines that actually raised the trophy, the only ones to do so.  Or is that not what matters anymore?  How long ago did hype overtake heroics?

There is no denying that those they call the Fab Five changed the game of college basketball.  But did they end up winning it all?  No.  And for that reason, the Michigan team that did deserves a little more respect… and a lot more attention.

26 thoughts on “When winning isn’t everything: Wherefore art thou, the real Fab Five?

  1. Very well stated PEP, but i have no favor for any Michigan B-ball team. Perhaps because the term was coined prior to the real Fab5 from Florida who not only won the hardware, but did it back to back seasons. Does their year in school really matter vs the accomplishment? No other institution, including UCLA, has done what Florida did…back to back…with the same Fab 5. I’m jus sayin’!

  2. Ah hype, it makes the world do around. I think I know the reason that the team to actually win a championship got no love. It’s because they had no catchy nickname like the (ugh) fab five. Anyone who doesn’t know that it’s style over substance these days obviously doesn’t know what time it is.

  3. Chris,

    Great point. That 89 team was the first team I really followed as a youngster. I can still remember that baseline move by Robinson in the title game where he finished with a reverse jam. That was a special team. It would have been nice to see the guys honored at the title game. At same time, in a world of 24 hour media relations, I can understand why they chose to go the alternative route. I will say, it was nice to see Ray Jackson…freakin loved that guy

  4. Aer…

    Glen Rice had himself a pretty successful NBA career as well. He was bad ass back in his day.

    I’m just wondering why a team that didn’t win it all gets more love up there than the team that actually did.

  5. Tim…

    It’s even harder to imagine that none of those Fab Five won themselves a championship until Juwan Howard did by being on the Miami Heat last year.

    Talk about a drought.

  6. Chris,

    This is a well written piece with a whole lotta truth. Yes, Rumeal Robinson sank 2 clutch free throw to beat the Hall, but I remember that phantom foul that got him to the line with a couple of seconds left.

    Glen Rice? The second coming of Cazzie Russell. However his resume’ includes a little tryst with Sarah Palin.

  7. Great team but you simply knew that the ’91-92 team , their ego would be their undoing and it led to their downfall , and rightfully so .

    You can have all the talent in the world , but nothing is actually given to you unless you deserve it , and earn it by showing respect . Even to this day Jalen Rose , Juwan Howard and Chris Webber act like and remain douche bags

    Howard is now crowing around having earned over $151 million in career earnings still chasing an illusive first NBA ring .

    Tophatal

  8. Al…

    I think Howard got one last year finally, as a reserve in Miami.

    Unless you’re referring to Dwight, who’s still a long way away from getting one.

  9. You’re right Chris. Glen Rice’s Wolverines never received any “air-time.” The fact that the “Fab 5” truly changed the game of college basketball, they will always be the front leaders when it comes to anything worth mentioning about the Wolverines. That will never change.

  10. Chris

    Juwan was barely there in terms overall contribution, but I guess , when you win , you win or really win . I certainly don’t believe that at any time during his NBA career Juwan Howard was amongst the best at his position within the NBA .

    Dwight for his part will now have to prove that he’s the heir-apparent to Kobe . I certainly don’t believe that’s something he wants or relishes because remains immature .

    Lakers’ news

    Tophatal ……………

  11. Chris

    As if need a reminder that the NFL is about to embarrassed like a virgin being caught in a three way as her first sexual experience when all along she’d been telling friends she’d never seen or sucked ##ck .

    Haslam hires lawyer who represented Eddie DeBartolo

    Courtesy of PFT(ProfootballTalk )


    Haslam hires lawyer who represented Eddie DeBartolo

    With plenty of NFL observers already comparing the case against the company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to the case that brought down Eddie DeBartolo as owner of the 49ers, Haslam voluntarily has made another connection between the two situations.

    Pilot Flying J has hired the lawyer who represented DeBartolo against federal charges in Louisiana: Aubrey Harwell, Jr., of Nashville.

    Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer dusts off the DeBartolo case, which resulted in the popular owner stepping aside as an indictment was looming, then pleading guilty to the failure to report a felony extortion attempt in connection with the procurement of a gambling license, and ultimately receiving in 1999 a one-year suspension from former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

    It’s difficult to draw parallels between the DeBartolo and Haslam situations, in part because the NFL dramatically has adjusted over the last 14 years its approach to discipline. That same year, for example, Tagliabue suspended former Rams defensive end Leonard Little only eight games after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter while driving with nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

    It’s also difficult to gauge Haslam’s potential responsibility. Harwell already has crafted talking points that, if accurate, would insulate Haslam and other family members from responsibility.

    “I can tell you that Mr. Haslam is in and out of a lot of meetings but he was not aware of any improprieties,” Harwell told Walter F. Roche, Jr. of the Tennessean. Harwell admitted that some allegations in the 120-page affidavit filed on Thursday “cause concern,” but Harwell insists that the Haslam family “had no knowledge of any impropriety.”

    ==========================

    Click on link to read in full .

    ============================

    And we all know how things ended up Fast & Foot Loose Eddie (DeBartolo) don’t we ?

    Anyone trying to suggest that he wasn’t aware as to his own company’s business dealings when he’s actually a senior executive and board member is an @ss . Much as in the same those oafs who tried to suggest that having selective memory can actually excuse incompetence .

    Goodell had to have known that the FBI had been conducting an investigation into Haslam’s businesses and the league simply sought to overlook it all because , they (league) would indirectly profit from the Browns’ sale . Roger Goodell remains disingenuous and a goddamn a#shole ! What I’d like to know , if the league has its own security employees and investigators , what the ###k have they actually been doing to justify their pay ? Those guys on appearance alone are incompetent buffoons !

    Tophatal ……

  12. BS…

    I don’t disagree with that and I understand their impact on the game as we know it.

    I’m just saying we should, once again, reexamine our priorities.

  13. Al…

    Howard has remained relatively injury free over his career and has been a solid power forward since day one, on both ends of the floor.

    What’s even more impressive is that he looks like he has barely aged. In fact, none of those big three look all that much different than they did in their Michigan days.

    Oh, and Dwight will have his work cut out for him against San Antonio who knows exactly how to defend him.

  14. Al…

    Either the NFL and other major leagues have no background checks in place for team ownership or they need to step up their research a little more.

  15. Chris

    Step up their research ? How hard can it be for the NFL to simply get in contact with a federal agency in this day and age ? Goodell has been absolute an a#shole much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig . It’s not that difficult, in merely sending a formal letter without requesting in depth details from either the Justice Department or the FBI .

    A visit with either agency or actually have Haslam submit a detailed financial record and then have that looked over by an inhouse certified CPA as well as independent accounting firm and lawyers would not be that difficult at all . All Goodell and the Board of Governors forever see are the damn dollar signs and not much else . It’s like the idiocy of one patron making the suggestion recently that the NFL < NHL and NBA is made up of businessmen . That’s a crock of $hit to begin with .

    Is ESPN’s Tim Legler , a white guy who believes a black male trapped in the wrong body ? The guy is a putz in more ways than one , who obviously loves the sound of his own voice .

    The Bucs have finally made it happen , with a trade for Revis , pending the physical and terms of agreement concerning a new contract .

    That should bode well for the Bucs this upcoming season within the NFC South .

    Tophatal ……….

  16. Al…

    You’re also assuming a) the NFL has nothing to hide b) they give a crap and c) they have a wealth of buyers to choose from.

    Let me ask you this? When’s the last time a professional sports league denied any individual the purchase of one of its teams and what was the reason?

    I started on your Jack Johnson piece but as usual worked all weekend and haven’t had the chance to finish it. I wanted to pay it the justice it deserved.

    And yes, the Bucs got their man in Revis. I guess we have to be happy about that, don’t we? In all actuality, getting that player, and that contract with only limited guaranteed money for a draft-pick-and-a-half probably wasn’t all that bad of a deal.

    We’ll see how it pans out.

  17. Chris

    The NFL ownership fraternity is no different from congress , which of course we know is filled with a bunch of lying , cheating ba$tards .

    OK , so the Bucs get Revis , but when will they address the inadequacies of Josh Freeman ?

    What did you say to Maddon , in order for the Rays’ bats to come alive ? They beat the shizz-nit out of the A’s with that 8-1 pounding </b .

    Check out both pieces beyond the boxing piece on Johnson and Louis . Also refer to the NBA piece concerning this postseason .

    Kobe on the sidelines ” tweeting ” ‘ bout Pau ? Is that meant to now be a novelty after it’s being mentioned that Kobe Bryant is now learning how to tweet ?

    Perhaps Kobe’s biggest concern is how the Spurs’ beat the Lakers’ a$s going away without breaking a sweat ?

    ESPN’s Tim Legler , a white guy who believes he was meant to be born black ? The more he talks , the more I realize how useful it is to have a mute button for the tv !

    Can someone explain to Goodell , that it is OK to seek the assistance of outside help to investigate a potential buyer of an NFL franchise .

    Haslam hasn’t been smuggling drugs or illegal aliens has he ? Just defrauding clients around the country monies due to them and it now looks as if there’s mounting documentation to prove that he knew what was going on all along. I wonder if the monies derived from that fraud , was used to buy the Browns ? RICO Act ! Bit##es

    Tophatal ………..

  18. Al…

    You and I along with everyone else living in the Bay area know that they’re going to give Freeman this year to figure it out. It’s make or break for him. But the way this team is shaping up, the playoffs are seeming more and more likely, even in a competitive NFC, so bottom line is, Freeman best come to play if he wants to wear pewter in the future.

    The Rays completed a nice three-game sweep of Oakland. Let’s see what they can do their next three against the Yanks.

    Yeah. Kobe. Tweeting. Annoying. I’d be a tad bit miffed if I were D’Antoni as well. Too bad his opinion doesn’t count for shit.

    I don’t mind Legler all that much but if you really want a good breakdown of game highlights, switch over to NBA TV and listen to Brent Barry. He’s really good.

  19. That team hasn’t been forgotten. Rumeal was recently sentenced to do some time in prison & Rice got some pub for shagging Sarah Palin back in the day.

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