ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's Fab Five reunited and attended a basketball game on campus for the first time since they played three decades ago, watching the Wolverines beat Ohio State 73-65 on Monday.
Chris Webber and Jalen Rose have had differences, including about the narratives of the NCAA scandal that led to the removal of two Final Four banners from the Crisler Center rafters.
It drove the childhood friends and college teammates apart, leading to the Detroit natives not even speaking to each other when they were in the same place.
“If you’re going to cry at somebody’s funeral, you might as well get along with them while they’re alive," Rose told The Associated Press at halftime of the game.
Webber and Rose squashed their feud in 2021, and had recent conversations to rebuild their relationship.
“I think it’s no secret Jalen and I had to come together. We have,” Webber said. "It had to happen naturally and that allowed us to be together today, so we’re happy to support Juwan.”
Juwan Howard's serious health scare motivated the duo to come together with Jimmy King and Ray Jackson to support Michigan's embattled basketball coach, four months after he had heart surgery amid a five-game losing streak.
“C Webb and I are seeing eye to eye, and are on the same page, breaking bread as we should as brothers," Rose said. "Most importantly, Juwan deserves this.
“If there a singular factor for us to be on the same page at the same time, it was me being in Ann Arbor, Michigan, watching my brother Juwan Howard lay on a gurney and about to have open-heart surgery.”
After Michigan beat the Buckeyes, the five former teammates posed for pictures at center court.
“It was special moment,” Howard said. “I expect that this won’t be the last.”
Webber said the last time he attended a Michigan home basketball game, he was an NBA rookie during the 1993-94 season while his four former teammates were in their junior season.
“It’s great to be back," said Webber, who sat courtside next to Rose, King and Jackson across from Howard on Michigan's bench.
Webber was forced to stay away for a long time, and when he did return for a game, it was when Jim Harbaugh invited him to a football game in 2018.
The NCAA told Michigan in 2002 to dissociate from Webber along with a few other former players — none from the Fab Five — for a decade because a federal investigation revealed the now-deceased Ed Martin gave them more than $600,000 when they were students.
In the NIL era, college athletes are making much more money from boosters.
“I’m glad to see that guys are able to monetize on their image and likeness,” Webber said.
That was against NCAA rules when the Fab Five took college basketball by storm in the early 1990s with plenty of swagger, making baggy shorts and black socks popular on basketball courts from coast to coast.
The governing body barred the Wolverines from postseason play for one year, took scholarships away and put the school on probation for what it said was “one of the most egregious violations of NCAA laws in the history of the organization.”
Michigan took the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners down, wrapped them in plastic and tucked them behind a locked door on the bottom shelf of a narrow cage near other artifacts such as Civil War diaries at its historical library
While Webber said he hadn't had a chance to think about the banners while standing under where they used to hang, Rose had plenty to say.
“It would be awesome if Michigan would consider retiring the numbers of the Fab Five,” Rose said. "Or, one banner with all of our numbers on it.”
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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball