My Thoughts On The Fab 5
Ray Jackson, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Jimmy King were all mega-stars when they headed to Michigan in 1991. This collection of talent were called The Fab Five. They were great college basketball players, but more than that, they changed the culture of college basketball and college sports as a whole and affected a generation.
These guys weren’t your average ordinary freshman. They had personality, attitude and brashness and that’s what we loved about them. They knew they were good and they proved it everytime they stepped on the court. The Fab 5 were a crew that were a set of difference-makers. They brought along cultural changes in terms of hip-hop and basketball. Let’s be honest, no one was talking about sports and hip-hop being infused then. No one talked about NWA and EPMD then as music they listened to before the game. That’s when hip-hop began to make its exodus into the sports world. I would bet that before these guys listened to hip-hop going to games, no one had even thought about playing it in the arenas and stadiums across the country. Now, when you go to arenas and sports venues, you can’t help but hear hip-hop and rap.
The Fab 5 said they didn’t feel comfortable in the shorts they wore on the basketball court, so they asked head coach Steve Fisher for longer shorts. The shorts back in 1991 were more fitted. Let’s be honest, they made the players back then look like they were wearing boxers on the court. This baggy shorts swept through the nation and are now the norm of shorts that everyone wears in college basketball.
The Fab 5 also began the style of wearing black socks with their black shoes. Black socks were known more for older people to wear to cut their yards or lounge around. When the Fab 5 wore them, they made them hip and cool to wear and now they are a staple in every form of basketball.
The last thing that the Fab 5 exposed us to first were that college kids are exploited. Michigan wasn’t making a bunch of money off of their merchandise before the Fab 5 got there. In the Fab 5 years, the merchandise sales topped $10 million. Nike also played a huge part in exposing them as well for the black socks and baggy shorts they wore. Now I know that they received scholarships, but the sum of their 5 scholarships over the years that the Fab 5 were there doesn’t even come close to the amount of money that was made off of them.
The Fab 5 were more than basketball players, they were influential on everyone that was around at that time. I can still remember being sad after the 1993 National Championship Game because I wanted Michigan to win so bad. There may not have won a championship, but they were always champions in my eyes. And they will always be remembered as one of the greatest teams ever to grace a college basketball court as well as the best freshman class to ever play college basketball. Thanks to ESPN for doing that documentary and thanks to Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose for giving us those great memories.