The 90’s were a time of highlighted success for the University of Michigan basketball program. A group of five kids came together and arguably changed the face of college basketball forever. They were wild, they were obnoxious to most, and they were great.
But not even greatness can rectify the bitter divorce and shunning the Fab Five has faced from the University since leaving campus, and rightfully so.
Outspoken Jalen Rose raised some eyebrows today after making some questionable remarks regarding his time at Michigan. “I’m absolutely proud of that (his achievements.) I just wish our university was,” said Rose.
From a former player’s perspective, Rose has all the right in the world to feel proud about his achievements and success he had. No record of a team existing in the record books can take away what the Fab Five did during their impressive run.
But it’s more than that, much more.
The Fab Five stained Michigan and set the basketball program back many years. So far back that it finally got over the hump last season in which fans are hoping was not a fluke. For a University that prides itself on playing by the rules, this was a cardinal sin.
For Rose to say that he wishes his University were proud of the accomplishments the Fab Five made is a lost cause. They washed their hands clean of that mess many years ago. It is possible to feel pride from a pure athletic perspective, but the mark Chris Webber and others left is too great to ignore. Once a stain will always be a stain.
As always, Rose is trying to thrust the Fab Five into the forefront and make it bigger than the program. We saw this during Michigan’s improbable run to the National Championship game. The Fab Five showing up to the final game was only an excuse to support Michigan. At face value, it was a silent protest. Granted, guys like Jimmy King and Ray Jackson could’ve had their best intentions in mind. But, for the others, it was a way to get the people talking again.
Rose needs to understand and grasp that his heyday at Michigan has long since passed. His – and his peers – mistakes left a dark mark on the history of the basketball program. According to Michigan, he doesn’t even exist. That speaks volumes to the sensitivity of the situation.
Maybe one day the University can forgive and forget. Maybe one day the banners will hang freely in Crisler to show the efforts of the Fab Five. Until that day, Rose needs to understand what exactly happened that overshadowed everything else.