Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ESPN Films - The Fab Five

Running on the treadmill, I watched The Fab Five. From the producers of ESPN's 30 for 30 series and Jalen Rose, The Fab Five takes a look back at the 1991 University of Michigan men's basketball team recruitment class: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. A class considered by some to be "the greatest ever recruited". They reached the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship games as both freshmen and sophomores.

In 1992, Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski, defeated the Michigan Wolverines by the score of 71–51 to claim their second consecutive national championship. Bobby Hurley of Duke was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

In 1993, North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith, won the national title with a 77–71 victory in the final game over Michigan. The most memorable play in the championship game came in the last seconds as Michigan's Chris Webber tried to call a timeout when double-teamed by North Carolina. Michigan had already used all of its timeouts, so Webber's gaffe resulted in a technical foul. There is footage in the documentary that shows someone on the bench signaling to Weber to call a time-out as he is bringing the ball up the court.

The film is told in chapters. One of the most poignant things about the film is the difference between the players in their freshman and sophomore years. As sophomores, they became much more jaded. The players looked around at everyone who was making money off of them and they did not have a dime to their name. While their jerseys were selling for $60, Weber talks about not have money for a hamburger.

"Schools like Duke didn't recruit players like me," explains Jalen Rose in the film. "I felt that they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms. ... I was jealous of Grant Hill. He came from a great black family. Congratulations. Your mom went to college and was roommates with Hillary Clinton. Your dad played in the NFL as a very well-spoken and successful man. I was upset and bitter that my mom had to bust her hump for 20-plus years. I was bitter that I had a professional athlete that was my father that I didn't know. I resented that, moreso than I resented him. I looked at it as they are who the world accepts and we are who the world hates."

—Jalen Rose
Based on comments that Rose made, the film sparked a verbal war between Jalen Rose and Duke University's Grant Hill through the media regarding issues of race in sports and education. Hill published an open letter to Rose in the New York Times responding to the comments made during the film.

Four of the Fab Five participated in the making of the film; Chris Weber declined. It would have been a stronger film if Weber had participated. Weber played 6 1/2 seasons for the Sacramento Kings from the start of 1998 season to February of 2005. Both Sharon and I enjoyed watching him play for the Kings. We were at Arco when they retired his jersey.

I enjoyed the film and recommend it! It does a very nice job of telling the story.

The film is available on Amazon and in iTunes.

Bill Simmons also did a podcast with Jalen Rose talking about the film. It available on the ESPN web site here.

One footnote, the reference to Bobby Hurley winning the tournament outstanding player caused a flashback. When Hurley graduated in 1993, he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings. I can remember sitting in the Tower Cafe with Larkin talking about whether or not we should review our Kings season tickets. We decided to punt largely based on the our feelings about the Hurley draft pick...

No comments:

Post a Comment