In his 30 years in the spotlight, Chris Webber has rarely allowed anyone outside his circle to know exactly who the real Chris Webber is.
It's not surprising. Despite a decorated career — first as a high school All-American, then as a member of the Fab Five at Michigan, a five-time NBA All-Star with 10 total playoff appearances, including a Western Conference finals march with the Sacramento Kings — and his stature as one of the game's great power forwards, the 2021 Hall of Fame inductee has largely been defined, by others, according to his most difficult moments.
Webber arrived at Michigan in 1991 as the reigning Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, joining Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Juwan Howard to create the Fab Five. They were college basketball's rock stars and took the Wolverines to the national championship game in 1992 and 1993. In the 1993 final against North Carolina, Webber infamously called a timeout that Michigan didn't have, allowing the Tar Heels to win.
He decided to turn pro after that devastating loss, and was the No. 1 pick in the 1993 NBA draft. He was also named NBA Rookie of the Year that season.
Then, after nearly a decade playing for the Golden State Warriors, the Washington Bullets/Wizards and the Kings, Webber's past returned to haunt him. In 2002, he was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury about taking money from former Michigan booster Ed Martin. He eventually pled guilty to a charge of criminal contempt.
As a result, the school stripped Webber's stats and achievements from its record books and vacated its Final Four appearances in 1992 and 1993. The NCAA also forced Michigan to disassociate itself from Webber, banning him for 10 years until May 2013.
During that chapter of his life, Webber distanced himself from the school and his collegiate career, rarely mentioning either in interviews. He also refused to participate in ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary about the Fab Five. Although there are indications he and the other members of the Fab Five remain close, Webber said a true reunion won't happen until he and Rose — the former NBA standout, ESPN personality and popular curator of the Fab Five's history — settle their differences privately.