It’s been one of the stranger stories in college sports.
Chris Webber has been persona non grata at the University of Michigan, despite being one of the best — and most influential — basketball players in school history.
Now, however, it seems like the ice may be thawing.
Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh invited Webber to be an honorary captain for an upcoming game, and Webber is taking him up on it.
The surprising offer came as Harbaugh and Webber appeared on “The M Zone” show on an Ann Arbor radio station.
“I want to make an official invitation to Chris,” Harbaugh said. “Chris, I want you to be an honorary captain to the Michigan football team next season.”
“Aw, Coach, you know that’s no problem, I’m honored,” Webber said. “As you know, and getting to speak to you over the years, I love what you’ve done with the program. Good luck, and yeah, I will definitely be a part of it. You know I would do anything for you, you know, the (uniform) No. 4s at Michigan, we got to stick together.”
This would mark the first time Webber has been involved in anything Michigan-related since he pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in 2002 regarding a booster scandal.
Webber, of course, led the “Fab Five” of himself, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson to consecutive NCAA Championship appearances in the early 1990s.
In the team’s 1993 loss to North Carolina, Webber made one of the most famous blunders in sports, calling a timeout while holding the ball when the Wolverines were out of timeouts and trailing by two with :11 remaining. The timeout call resulted in a technical foul, North Carolina made both free throws and went on to win the national championship, 77-71.
While the other four starters have made numerous appearances together, Webber has stayed away.
Just last week, Rose made his latest plea to his former teammate to reunite.
“I love him. That’s my brother,” Rose said last week. “I don’t want people to feel like I’m upset or bitter with C-Webb or the University of Michigan. I love them both. I would love for (the Fab Five) to be in the same place, at the same time.”
While Rose has been critical of his former “brother” for not accepting his role in the scandal, he says it’s time for bygones to be bygones.
“I would love for (Webber) and the University of Michigan to see eye to eye,” Rose said last week. “There are times families don’t see eye to eye. I guess that’s what we’re dealing with at this point. Hopefully, we’ll get through it.”
Even though Michigan had to forfeit all its basketball victories from Webber’s two seasons and take down its National Championship game banners, Webber has never apologized for his part.
“I don’t regret anything,” Weber said. “I’m thankful that God has allowed me to be here today.”
The NCAA demanded a 10-year disassociation between Webber and Michigan. But that time is over, and it seems like Webber is ready to come “home.”
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