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Posted on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

Michigan takes a step toward recognizing Fab Five by bringing back Jimmy King, Jalen Rose and Ray Jackson

By Michael Rothstein


(From left) University of Michigan basketball Fab Five members Ray Jackson, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King received plaques and varsity jackets at halftime of the Legends Classic against Gardner-Webb at Crisler Arena on Sunday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Jalen Rose heard the welcome back cheers at Crisler Arena when he showed up for a game in January.

This time, he brought friends.

As part of the Legends Classic promotion, Michigan honored former Fab Five members Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson as part of a halftime ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony was short and symbolic. But the gesture might lead to lasting change.

Reaching out to as much of the Fab Five as much as the NCAA allows the Michigan basketball program is a first since the Ed Martin scandal and resulting sanctions earlier this decade.

“This was the first step in trying to make that happen,” Jackson said. “I had talked to (Michigan coach John) Beilein a couple times over the summer, and we had a good conversation and everybody is trying to move forward.

“I like to say we’re trying to bridge the gap and get everybody on the same field again.”

Michigan distanced itself from the Fab Five members in 2003 at the conclusion of the NCAA investigation into former booster Ed Martin. A federal investigation of Martin led to revelations that he gave more than $600,000 in money and benefits to Fab Five leader Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock.

Among the self-imposed and NCAA sanctions, Michigan took down the Final Four banners from 1992 and 1993, forfeited its 1997 National Invitation Tournament and 1998 Big Ten titles and emptied its record book of any accomplishments from the players involved in the scandal. The NCAA ruled that Michigan must distance itself and not recognize any of the players until 2012.

That leaves Webber out of any on-campus reunion for a while. For the rest of the Fab Five, which includes current NBA forward Juwan Howard, there’s been little to no recognition of their time at Michigan.

On Sunday, there were subtle reminders of an era long gone all around Crisler Arena.

Fans in the Michigan student section, most of whom were toddlers when the Fab Five changed college basketball culture, chanted “Fab Five.”

Michigan’s current players wore maize jerseys with black socks and shoes - the Fab Five staple - in a 80-58 win over Gardner-Webb. While seen as an homage to the greatest teams in school history to most, junior guard Zack Novak said the black socks/shoes combination is standard fare whenever Michigan wears maize.

It was of course, started by the Fab Five.

“It’s awesome (to have them back),” Novak said. “That’s a big group right there. It’s good to get them back for a game.

“Just to see them and know what they’ve accomplished it kind of gives you something to work for.”

Not that all of them could be back.

“It’s a process and we’re enjoying the process,” Rose said. “We appreciate the process. Michigan has done a lot for us and vice versa. And I think it’s only a matter of time until we take a couple small steps here or there and before you know it, hopefully all five of us will be standing on the floor talking about the opportunity to really be embraced by Michigan basketball and this community.

“Hopefully the banners will be back up in the rafters one day.”

The banners - and Chris Webber - were hot topics at the ceremony.

“Chris is here with us in spirit at all times because he understands the big picture,” Jackson said. “We have to take these baby steps in order to get it done the right way.”

This summer, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said the school couldn’t do anything with the Fab Five as a group until 2013.

Brandon said then he's open to restoring the memory of the Fab Five on campus, but the impetus would be on the players to reach out when the time is right.

Rose and King have.

"It would seem to me that for any of those things to happen, there would have to be a relationship that was rebuilt, and two of them really seem to be interested in that, and I'm very impressed and appreciative, and it's great," Brandon said. "... It would have to be as a result of a relationship, communication, understanding. Kind of an ability to move ahead."

Sunday was a step in that. It brought Rose and King back again. It added Jackson, who returned for just his second game since leaving Michigan in 1995.

It also might set into motion a rare Fab Five reunion. Since King and Jackson left Michigan, the group has been together once, according to King - a 2003 charity event in Chicago to support Rose’s foundation.

Otherwise, with schedules and family life and a university that is unable to bring everyone together, they have been apart.

“We want to solidify our legacy,” King said. “… So coming back to put the exclamation point on the sentence.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Thu, Nov 25, 2010 : 12:45 a.m.

Personally, I understand UofM's position here with the NCAA rules BUT, all of the players and the school itself have paid for the serious error in judgement. As for Jalen Rose, he became a fine gentlemen, good player and is making a decent name for himself as a commentator for TNT and ESPN (on occasions). He did not take part in the issue at the time and truly deserved an opportunity to come back to were him and the other four starters, made history. Not sure about King and Jackson so much but neither were named in the original incident. As for Chris W., I believe the fact that he did not win a Championship while playing in the NBA was his punishment for what happened at U of M. It is high time for all of the original starting five to be accepted back at the school. Heck, we are talking now...almost 20 years ago? Let bygones, be is time.

A2 Rez

Tue, Nov 23, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

The Fab Five's legacy is an all-freshman starting five making it to the NCAA title game, completely changing the look of both NCAA and NBA basketball, bringing the most excitement and life to Crisler Arena before or after their arrival and making UM basketball a world wide "brand". They made their mistakes but they have paid their debt to the NCAA society. The pompous attitude of many of the posters here is laughable - I'm sure when you were a teenager, you never made questionable decisions in your life which you later regretted. This is not even taking into consideration the media microscope they were under. Put the banners back up and bring the Fab Five, as a group, back to Crisler. 99% of the fans want it.


Tue, Nov 23, 2010 : 5:07 a.m.

I'd welcome the change of heart. At least new AD Brandon acknowledges that nothing can occur until 2013. Both the University and the players attempting to move on is a good sign. Those were some very exciting times for Michigan basketball that we've not seen since Romel Robinson before the Fab Five and Cazzie Russell before that! Bring back Michigan basketball to its glory. It is sorely needed. The swagger that the Fab Five brought (baggy shorts, black socks) and overall skills gave justice to a former great program.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

Pay to play? Really? Is that your answer to their run as Freshman?Oh, and go to the store and try to find some hoop shorts that fit like the ones Isiah, Bird and Magic wore in the 80's, you can't. The fab five changed all that. One other thing, next to Joe Dumars, Jalen Rose was probably the next best player to guard Jordan while he was doing time at Indianapolis. Jalen was a great player, he could play 3, maybe 4 positions. And dang if he didn't take some unwarranted shots where you would say "what is he doing?" and it would fall. Those guys were fun to watch


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 9:04 p.m.

You mean pay to play freshman.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

Legacy? When was the last time five freshman starters made it to the final game in the NCAA Championship?


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

Let's make something clear here. Jalen, Ray and Jimmy had NOTHING to do with the problems at UM. Any anger should be directed at Webber, Taylor, Bullock and Traylor. As for those claiming it was criminal, the real crime is the rules which allow the NCAA to own a players likeness during those four years and exploit it as much as they want for their own use, while the kids get chump change. The system is designed to keep kids slaves to their schools. The NCAA says its rule it to make student athletes just like regular students. I wonder if a regular student was a computer genius, if Google handed them a million dollars would it be acceptable? Drew Henson seemed to have plenty of cash from his baseball contract while he played football. The NCAA rules are a farce.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

I think it's a good first step. I think Jimmy King and Jalen Rose in particular have "made amends" by being good people since leaving college and giving back in some manner to U-M. I'm not sure about Jackson or Howard. I agree with AAreader though about Chris Webber. He has not shown the remorse necessary for what he did and publicly apologized to the U-M community. Until he does, he's not welcome in my opinion. The Fab 5 debacle did not bring down Michigan basketball by itself. It was poor selection of coaches that allowed the program to fade into irrelevance over the last 10 years. Add to that the short-sightedness of not investing in better basketball facilities a lot sooner and fixing up Crisler. Finally, this also allowed Izzo to lock up the state and surrounding region, leaving Michigan to scramble for the "recruiting crumbs". I'm not sure Beilein is "the guy" either. The book's still out.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 10:48 a.m.

I believe that Jalen Rose has been very generous in charitable giving since leaving UM. Jimmy King is doing a great job broadcasting games on television. Sorry about leaving out Mr. Jackson, I am just not aware of his activities. So kudos to them, but alas, the behavior by the others is a disgrace. I wish the NBA would take a stand and bar players who violate major rules. If not, I think the violations like those committed by Chris Webber were crimes. It just stinks that a player can violate rules, leave and live the high life, leaving a college program in ruin. The only reason that Webber was caught was that his benefactor was caught up in illegal gambling and started singing like a bird. Lacking police and search warrant/subpoena power, it is almost impossible to properly investigate accusations of wrong doing in cases like this. A lot of college sports misbehavior happens because there is no law against it. Congress should act to make states enact laws making some violations crimes.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Liked to see those three back. But I will probably not welcome Chris Weber back under any circumstances. He betrayed the trust of the school and his team mates. Same goes for the others involved.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

This is all about fundraising. The UM hopes that they will donate to the University or others will donate in their name. They caused a major stain on the University's reputation, why should those involved be let off the hook in 2013?


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

What was their legacy? What footprints did they leave? Sure, they went to two final fours in a row- didn't win a conference title. I suspect this to be a feeble attempt by a struggling coach with a gimmick offense and a cupcake pre season schedule to build "tradition". Who's next- Louis Bullock? Robert Traylor?