Players With Attitude.

I can’t take full recognition for this post, the good hommieTony T gave me the idea for this post. The Fab Five could easily be compared to NWA, but as basketball players.

The Fab Five changed everything.

BasketBall. Style. Life.

The game of basketball has had many revolutionaries in its history, but the Fab Five were the group that took a lot of the the things we love about the game and sports today and injected it into our culture, even if there was a strong backlash at the time.

When this squad broke onto the scenes at Michigan, they didn’t try to be like everyone else, they took the game of basketball and they made it their own. They broke out the baggy shorts, when everyone was still wearing the old-school shorts. These players were brash. They spoke their mind and weren’t willing to back down to anyone.

Not only that, but they let it show on the court. The Fab Five would taunt you, showboat and do it with pure joy on their faces. College basketball had never seen anything quite like this team and it rocked the foundation of basketball.


Nineteen years ago, five freshmen enrolled at the University of Michigan and forever changed the world of college basketball. Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson joined forces to play for Wolverines’ coach Steve Fisher. The group known as the “Fab 5” introduced baggy shorts, black shoes, black socks and more to college hoops.

Black socks.

When the 1993 Wolverines walked onto the court wearing black socks to match their black shoes, jaws dropped. Everyone knew already that the five sophomores playing tremendous basketball: they’d gone to the NCAA Finals the previous year, as a squad of starting freshmen. And everyone knew they’d been wearing long, baggy shorts, cool and young and brash. But this was something else again, a calculation and a declaration: the Fab Five knew who they were.

The black socks, recalls Jalen Rose for The Fab Five, the ESPN documentary that premiered 13 March to coincide with the start of March Madness, were exactly that. The team had been alternately acclaimed and vilified during their freshman year. Jason Hehir’s movie shows how they came together, recruited by the University of Michigan, starting with Juwan Howard. Once he was signed—and felt welcomed and cared for by the coaching staff—he went on to become “the mastermind behind everything,” according to guard Ray Jackson. Howard helped coach Steve Fisher and assistant Brian Dutcher to bring in Jackson and Jimmy King (both high school stars in Texas), and then Detroit natives Chris Webber and Rose.

Gangster… Gangster…Gangster.


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