The Fab Five have had staying power at the University of Michigan for the past 25 years.
Since Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jalen Rose stepped on U-M’s campus with their signature baggy shorts, custom handshakes and magnetic attitudes in fall of ’91, these five men have been synonymous with Michigan and NCAA college basketball for good and bad reasons alike.
On Oct. 8. at a U-M event called: “U-M Fab 5 @ 25: A Public Forum,” former players Rose, King and Jackson are slated as guest speakers in hopes of restoring their image at the university.
In a recent interview with WTKA 1050 AM, U-M athletic director Warde Manuel was asked about his opinion on the forum, saying he’s “always open to a discussion” on moving forward with the Fab Five’s connection with Michigan.
“But to really open a dialogue and talk about to what the Fab Five meant to the university," Manuel said. “The two years that they were here, I think nobody can deny no matter what we came up with in matter of self imposed sanctions and NCAA came back with, nobody can deny their impact, nobody can deny that they’re part of the University of Michigan.”
In those two years (91-92, 92-93), Michigan made two Final Fours, finishing both seasons as national runner ups. Although, both outcomes are no longer recognized by the university after connections with notorious booster Ed Martin, who was transferring illegal funds to players during those two seasons, in particular Webber and Rose.
U-M’s ’92 and ’93 Final Four banners were removed on Nov. 7. 2002 to further separate the university from Martin and its former Fab Five members, including a 10-year dissociation ban, which ended in May 2013.
Manual said this open forum could be used a platform to fully understand what took place in tenure of the Fab Five.
“I think on the flip side of that is really analyzing fully that impact,” Manual said. “Not only on the court and them as a phenomenon as five freshman coming in and what they achieved. But also the opposite impact of what we found out afterwards. In the full sort of picture of understanding of how we can look back at the good and look at things that did not go well as a learning experience.”
Manael further added his support for the event, but has no particular view for the outcome of the panned discussion.
“And so from my perspective, I don’t have any outcome in mind,” Manuel said. “But I do think this year is the 25th anniversary of them arriving on campus. I do think it is worth a discussion as many aspects of history that have happened here at the University of Michigan are very worthy of discussion. I look forward to hearing and seeing how that goes.”