Chris Webber is in a unique position for Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball national championship game.
The former University of Michigan star lives and works in Atlanta, the city playing host to the title game. His alma mater is in the game, facing off against Louisville. Yet Webber says he won’t be at the game.
To understand his statement, you have to first understand the situation that led to the decision. Webber is a former member of the “Fab Five” — a group of super-recruits that all decided to attend Michigan at the same time in the early-1990s. In the ’93 championship game, Webber called a timeout that the Wolverines didn’t have in the final seconds (which is a technical foul), all but gifting the title to North Carolina. It still stands as one of the most embarrassing moments in sports history.
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Webber, apparently, hasn’t lived it down. He played a full career in the NBA — one that is arguably Hall-of-Fame-caliber — yet he still can’t pull himself together enough to go watch his university play for the first national title since he was on the court.
Monday morning on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” former Michigan teammate Jalen Rose had a good point — if Webber were living under a bridge, broke and homeless, the bitterness would be a little more understandable. But he had a great career that now continues with a lucrative broadcasting gig, so why act like it destroyed his life?
There are parts of me that understand both sides of the argument. If I were Webber, I would go tonight, but only because it’s been 20 years since the infamous moment. If it only happened three years ago, I’d be a lot more reluctant.
However, you know he’ll have to hear about it all night — a moment that he said, at the time, was the worst of his life. Even if Michigan fans offer him nothing but words of encouragement when they pass him in the Georgia Dome, it’s still a reminder. Maybe he just doesn’t want anything to do with “The Timeout,” even if attending Monday night’s game could be therapeutic.
If the rest of the Fab Five is going to be there tonight, Webber should be there, in my opinion. Even if they are a sidestory of the game, they’ll still be No. 2 behind Kevin Ware’s leg injury. Am I wrong in thinking Webber needs to suck it up and get his tail to the Dome to cheer on the Wolverines?
Let me know if I am.