The problem with myself and the game of basketball is that I peaked too early. During the little league days, my career averages centered around nine points, three rebounds and two assists a game. I was doing things an eight or nine year old just wasn’t supposed to do on a basketball court. ESPN even projected me going #1 in the 2004 draft – in 1994. Some referred to Young Tins (yep, I just went third person) as a one man version of the “Fab 5” because of the cultural ramifications his game (and again) brought the landscape of basketball in Virginia. This is the exact reason the critically acclaimed 30 For 30 series took the lead to depict the entire story; how it came to be and why the reign of terror ended so abruptly. I’m talking about the “Fab 5,” not me.
When Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard all came together at the University of Michigan as the most touted recruiting class ever, I was only five. And while the quintent only remained together for two seasons, what they meant to the game of basketball was timeless. We actually wore baggy shorts because of them and black socks with black shoes on a basketball court was the hardest thing ever. I would have even donned the bald head if I knew I wouldn’t have looked like a light bulb.
In my neighborhood, I always grew up playing older, much more skilled guys. This naturally meant they had a greater respect for the Fab Five than I did because they appreciated them while they were in progress. Memories are still fresh of being a young kid listening to war stories how this group was so much better, so much stronger and so much more exciting than anything in basketball not named Jordan. What they fell short of in championships, they arguably gained more in folklore. Chris Webber’s botched timeout and the scandal which wiped away their entire existence at Michigan not withstanding, they were, and probably still are, the most intriguing and exotic story in college basketball in the past 20 years.
I say all that to say this. Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN “The Fab 5” airs and for anyone who considers themselves a basketball enthusiast, this should equate to a must watch. I’ll be viewing to learn aspects to their time which were previously unfamiliar. For those who were of age to take in their dominance, use this as a time to flash back when high top fades and bright colors dominated culture lines. Jalen Rose was quote as once saying, “Infamy makes you live longer.” And that is so true. You won’t find another group more infamous than this band of brothers.