Who can ever forget the most popular Michigan college basketball team in the early 90s also known as the “Fab Five”? The Fab Five consists of four All-American recruits from the 1991 recruiting class, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, and Jimmy King, and a top 85 recruit, Ray Jackson. While none of the players ever won an NCCA championship, their legacy remains in Michigan basketball history and in the hearts of many basketball fans.
The awesome Fab Five moves on the court was featured on an ESPN film which has become ESPN’s top-rated documentary of all-time. They also challenged the look of basketball by wearing baggy shorts, black socks, and shaving their heads.
In this article, we’ll go through each of the Fab Five player, see how they started and what happened to them now.
Chris Webber attended high school at Detroit Country Day in Michigan and won the MVP in McDonald’s All-Star game as well as the high school player of the year award. He was the top recruit in the class of 1991 and picked Michigan among many other options.
In his freshman year, he instantly started for Michigan as a forward. Webber dominated the backboard throughout the season and accumulated a Big Ten-leading 340 rebounds and a Big Ten-leading 54 steals. He averaged a double-double per game with 15.5 PPG and 10.0 RPG which helped lead the Wolverines to the National Championship. Webber won the Big Ten Rookie of the Year award as well as the USBWA Freshman of the Year. For his efforts in the NCAA tournament, he was voted to the 1992 NCAA All-Tournament and All-Region teams.
Chris Webber entered the NBA draft after two years at Michigan and went first overall to the Orlando Magic but was traded to the Golden State Warriors almost immediately.
The biggest challenge in Webber’s career happened in 2002 when a scandal came out at the University of Michigan involving him receiving booster money. Webber pleaded guilty to the charges against him and the effect at Michigan still continues to this day. His name was removed from any records he once held at Michigan and has been disassociated from Michigan. Webber has since made a revisit to Michigan Stadium for a football game in 2018 in which he was received with a joyous response from the crowd.
Webber continued working in basketball as an NBA analyst on TNT. He also has produced a few movies through the years and played the role of Preacher in the movie Uncle Drew. The NBA still feels the impact of Webber as he still keeps his voice around the analyst side of the NBA.
Jalen Rose played his high school days at Southwestern High School. He was recruited to Michigan as the #6 recruit in the nation.
Jalen led the Fab Five in scoring in his freshman season with 597 points which set a school record for total points by a freshman. For his efforts in the 1992 NCAA tournament in which
Michigan made the finals, he was voted on to the NCAA All-Tournament and All-Region teams.
Fast foward, he became an NBA analyst on ESPN and a co-host in two talk shows on ESPN, Get Up! and Jalen & Jacoby. He produced the film Fab Five which became ESPN’s top-rated documentary and has written a New York Times bestselling book called Got to Give the People What They Want.
Although Rose was called to the grand jury in the 2003 scandal, Rose was found to not have been involved in receiving any money. Michigan remains a big part of Jalen Rose’s life as he actively supports the football and basketball teams at games.
Juwan Howard attended at Chicago Vocational Career Academy for high school and came out as the third recruit in the nation despite not going to one of the top high school basketball schools.
Juwan started the majority of his freshman year games for Michigan as the Wolverines made their march to the National Championship. He was a phenomenal player on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and can be considered the backbone of the Fab Five.
Howard made his last stop in his career at Miami. He was a reserve for the monster team that included Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. In his first season with the Heat, they lost in the NBA finals in the 2010-11 season. It was in the following season that a Fab Five member finally won an NBA championship when Juwan Howard did it in the 2012 NBA Finals on the Heat.
In 2013, the Heat announced that they would keep Juwan Howard in the organization but as an assistant coach. He would go on to stay in their coaching system until 2019 when he returned to Michigan as the men’s basketball head coach. Immediately, the Wolverines saw success after beating highly ranked North Carolina and Gonzaga in the Battle for Atlantis tournament winning the tournament. Michigan made the largest jump in the AP rankings from unranked to #4.
After losing to #1 ranked Louisville, the Wolverines would continue to fall apart and ended the season at 19-12 after winning their first seven games. During the 2020 offseason, there have been rumors of Juwan receiving NBA coaching offers, but he has responded by saying he will not be leaving his alma mater anytime soon.
Howard played 19 seasons in the NBA and has been an assistant coach with the Miami Heat for five seasons.
Jimmy King played his high school basketball for Plano East in Texas. King was the 9th rated overall recruit in the nation and chose Michigan to link up with other top prospects that are now dubbed the Fab Five.
King, along with Ray Jackson, are the only two Fab Five members to stick around for four full seasons at Michigan. It took a bit of time before King began to start for the Wolverines but when he did, Michigan began to take over. They made it to their back to back championships in the 1992 and 1993 NCAA tournaments with King in the starting five.
While King’s numbers stand behind many of the other Fab Five members, his role in the team can not be overlooked. Along with Jalen Rose, he was the shooter in the offense. In the championship run seasons, he shot over 40% from 3-point range and continually built on his success in the scoring sheet each year as the Fab Five members left. He reached his career-high in points in his senior year with 14.7 PPG, posting almost identical numbers as Ray Jackson who barely outpaced him.
King was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 35th overall pick of the NBA draft after his four years at Michigan were up. He did not receive much playing time and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after his rookie season. He was waived by them and played mainly in the CBA for the season with the Quad City Thunder. After being signed by the Denver Nuggets and not playing much, he returned to Europe in the CBA and took home a CBA championship and MVP award with the Thunder. He finished his basketball career overseas with a variety of different teams.
King now coaches the Ecorse Community High School men’s basketball team and has a talk show called King and Foster.
Ray Jackson is probably the least well-known of the fab five. He came out of high school from Lyndon B. Johnson Early College High School as the 84th ranked recruit in the nation. His freshman numbers are not very impressive as he was not a starter to begin the season. He helped Michigan reach four consecutive NCAA tournaments during the Fab Five’s reign but is the only Fab Five member to have never played a game in the NBA.
After being cut from the NBA, Ray Jackson decided to pursue the CBA as he was drafted by the Grand Rapids Hoops in the 3rd round. Jackson played out of his mind in his rookie season, taking home the 1995-96 CBA Rookie of the Year award. He would go back and forth between playing for the Hoops and playing overseas in places like France and Argentina before ending his career in Venezuela.
Jackson pays back to his community by supporting a non-profit that promotes education in his Texas area by using basketball called Rise Up Inc.
Who’s your favourite in the Fab Five? Feel free to share them in the comments below!