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Chris Webber Weighs In On The Duke-Fab Five Fight

After Jalen Rose's comments, Chris Webber decided to weigh in on the Fab Five vs. Duke stuff.  Here are some excerpts as posted on his site by someone named Dice:

Jay Crawford interviewed Fab5 Alum's Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Jalen Rose to get insight and talk about the old days in "A Square" (Ann Arbor, MI). One occurrence in the old days was the bitter feud between the U of Michigan and Duke. As Jay cut to a clip of the film, you saw Jalen express his feelings toward that school in Durham, NC: "…I hated everything Duke. They only recruit Uncle Tom black athletes."

Now keep in mind Jalen Rose is an employed NBA analyst for ESPN, and he responsibly made sure he wouldn't get fired for using such controversial language. Also, that was a 30+ year old man reflecting from his days as an impressionable teen-ager fresh out of high school. But usually where there's smoke, fire is right behind.

To some, Jalen's generalization of Duke and schools of that ilk (Indiana, Kansas) were the smoke, but to me, the fire is the reality. After ESPN showed the clip the adult Jalen didn't clean up or backpedal from his comments, rather restated his comment more politically correct. He basically said during the time of his recruitment, certain schools only recruited black athletes from a certain tenement: polished black families usually with two parent households.

UNLV was the father of the Fab Five in so many ways, particularly because the make up of the teams was so similar. Both teams boasted versatile future power forwards that would eventually go on and become the #1 pick in the NBA (LJ/C-Webb). They both had the luxury of being afforded two head-strong, tough, and talented point guards for leaders (Greg Anthony/Jalen Rose). Everything UNLV did beforehand was subsequently embraced and enhanced by the Freshmen, including style (meshing street fashion with Nike) and social disposition (introducing mainstream sports to hip-hop culture). Additional crucial elements that Michigan inherited from UNLV were the Rebels' racial stereotypes and rivalry with Duke. HBO and ESPN both did an excellent job bringing insight to the magnitude of those social and racial match-ups, but I took the Duke situation far worse then most. In political terms I viewed Duke on the same level as the oppressive, Jim Crow government of the early 50s. When Vegas beat the Blue Devils in the 1990 title game, it felt as if my father just won a civil rights case in court. When the Devils beat Vegas in the Final Four the next year, it was as if government tried my old man in the same case but this time he was sentenced to life in prison. And then when his son (Fab 5) attempted to avenge his father of this injustice the next year, he was convicted to the same fate (loss to Duke in the championship game).

Now for the "fire" part of my analogy, the reality. It is true during the time Rose was being recruited (91) , players from the Fab 5 weren't heavily recruited from Duke, and they were the top players of the country! Why is that? Is it because Coach K came from that Army/Coach Bob Knight dictatorial, disciplined style of coaching he didn't think was conducive for the Fab-5? Or was it because the Fab-5 were the first of its kind: hip hop listening, baggy shorts-wearing, trash-talking ballers from the urban city? Coach K must've been afraid for his life that these potential malcontents were thugs and killers.

Well, there's a lot to be said here, but first of all, there's this:  Chris Webber has never gotten over his love of posing.  He was about as much a street kid as Grant Hill.

Secondly, and hilariously, while he more or less endorses Jalen Rose's characterization of Grant Hill as an "Uncle Tom", he then unintentionally applies it to Jalen as well:

"Now keep in mind Jalen Rose is an employed NBA analyst for ESPN, and he responsibly made sure he wouldn't get fired for using such controversial language. "

Webber is one of the stupidest smart people you could ever hope to meet.

As far as his criticisms of Duke go, whatever.  Duke long ago refined their recruiting approach so that they didn't waste time with guys who couldn't qualify academically.  There's not much leeway there.

The one guy in the Fab Five Duke definitely did recruit -- Webber -- ended up first one of the great goats in tournament history for his sixth timeout against UNC, second a long-term malcontent in the NBA who in many respects squandered his gifts, third, a guy who lied about taking money from junior high on, and fourth, a perjurer who went a long way towards destroying Michigan's program (it must've really eaten him up to see Tommy Amaker get hired to clean up the mess he made).

Like the other four, he's never won a thing, a fact that the Duke guys keep pointing out.  What amazes us is that they seem to prefer it that way.