I usually cannot wait to hammer everything that ESPN ruins. From their overreactions of every game, over analysis to the point of nausea, to the former athletes they employ who all sound the same, to the robotic talking heads who give you the feeling they are plugged into the nearest outlet, it all pisses me off. From Dick Vitale on down to the ESPN News anchors, you can have it all. There is one thing that the Boo-Yaa Network does well, however. The 30 for 30 film series was outstanding. I enjoyed them all(especially The U), & the Fab 5 documentary lived up to the over the top ESPN hype.
Cynics would say “that team never on anything, why give them a two hour documentary?” I get that, but the Fab 5 helped change the culture of college basketball. Growing up, I wanted gold Michigan shorts(that were, of course, too big) with black socks, & black shoes because I wanted to be like Jalen Rose. Much like the Miami Hurricanes of the 80′s, I liked that they talked trash & backed it up. They were true to themselves, and didn’t try to be anything but who they were. Like them or not, they were genuine. I loved that conservative white people couldn’t handle the fact that 18 year old black kids didn’t conform to the norm. They didn’t care how they were perceived or looked at. They shaved their heads, Onyx style, and acted how they wanted to. I respect that. There is nothing worse than people putting on a facade. If you aren’t real, I can see right through your bullshit.
Starting 5 freshman at that time was something coaches would never dream of doing. But these kids had the “it” factor to go along with tremendous talent.
Director Jason Hehir gave young fans a glimpse of the impact that 5 freshman had on the landscape of college sports. Hehir was handicapped in a way because Chris Webber did not participate in the film. Webber did tweet that he will give his side of the story when the time is right. I am looking forward to that because, timeout or not, C-Webb was the alpha dog of that team. The ’93 title game was a lowlight for Webber, but that team doesn’t make back to back national championship games without him.
Some of the highlights from the film included just how much I still loathe & despise Dick Vitale & Duke. It hasn’t gone away. Combined, they are like that annoying family member or ex-girlfriend that won’t leave you alone. They are always there. And yes, Christian Laettner is still a penis.
Some other highlights of the film were Chicago’s Juwan Howard saying that “I got that deal done” when referring to Webber signing with Michigan.
Juwan Howard after going to the Final Four their freshman year: “We’re going to shock the world.”
Jalen Rose(who was phenomenal in this) saying that called Ohio State the ” Ohio State Fuckeyes.”
Hearing what kind of rap music the 5 freshman liked listening to. When they said EPMD(one of my favorite rap groups), I immediately went to YouTube to find “Da Joint.”
Jimmy King on what he thought of Laettner: “A bitch. I thought Grant Hill was a bitch too.”
Rose added this on the player who had no business being on the ’92 Dream Team: “I thought he was an overrated pussy. Until I got on the floor with him, and realized he had game.”
Rose on the crack/drug house incident: He was playing video games on a couch when the cops busted in. Rose and a few friends were laughing when a cop said “we got rocks”. On the house itself: “It wasn’t a dope house. I know what a crack house is. Trust me.”
For those who say that the Fab 5 didn’t deserve a 2 hour documentary, let me ask you this. Could the history of college basketball in our era(mid 80′s to present) be recalled without them? The answer is no. Can you name the starting lineup from the North Carolina team that beat them in ’93? Probably not. But you remember the Fab 5. You remember them because they left their mark on the sport. If they had beaten UNC in ’93 this film would have been done a long time ago. In pro sports, I am all about the teams that win championships. You don’t(and shouldn’t) remember the runner-up. It’s different in college because they are kids who undoubtedly make mistakes. The Fab 5 made their fair share, but I wouldn’t have loved college hoops like I did if it wasn’t for them. And for that, I appreciate them. And, they hated those ass-hats at Duke. How can you not like that team?! The Final Four banners might be taken down, but the Fab 5′s legacy can’t be erased. Nor should it be.
The Bulls celebrated their ’91 championship on Saturday night with a halftime tribute that was extremely well done. The Bulls do ceremonies like this the right way. What made it cool for me was seeing the current team watching the ’91 champs get honored. I loved it because it showed the current team that if you win a championship in Chicago, you won’t be forgotten. I was nostalgic seeing the highlight package to Tom Petty’s Learning To Fly. Much like MJ said, there are a lot more championships to come with this team.
And, how cool was it for Jordan & CO. watching Derrick Rose put on that type of 1st quarter performance?! All that was missing was Rose doing the shrug after his 5th 3-pointer. It was a special night that brought back memories as well as hope for future celebrations. So, when do you think we’ll be celebrating Rose’s first NBA title? It will be sooner than you might think.
If you missed the ceremony, here you go. What would we do without YouTube?
Yes, those were MVP chants for Jordan. Every Bulls fan has a favorite memory of the 90′s, but mine remains that 1st championship team. There is nothing like the 1st one, and I want to thank that team for providing me with some of the best memories of my sports fan life. And for those who think the ’86 Celtics were the best team ever, you are on crack. That ’91 Bulls team would have rolled right through Bird & CO.
Before I go, here is Life & Rhymes by Surreal and the Sound Providers…..
Feel free to keep thinking of past NBA champs who would beat the 90′s Bulls. You’ll waste a lot of time, and you’ll be wrong.
Follow me on Twitter @Louie_Ruffolo8