ESPN’s Fab 5 Documentary is a Winner

Michigan's Fab 5

ESPN is known for over-hyping sporting events, but typically not for over-hyping their own shows or films. I was surprised to see how many trailers the network was showing for last night’s documentary on Michigan’s Fab 5 — the legendary Michigan men’s basketball team comprised of star freshmen recruits Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. After tuning in last night, this documentary was definitely a winner (unlike the Fab 5) — another big win for ESPN’s film team after their 30 for 30 series.

The story begins with the formation of this super recruiting class, who ultimately loses both the 1992 and 1993 NCAA national championship games in dramatic fashion. While the group was not successful in bringing an NCAA championship to Michigan, they are almost solely responsible for bringing hip-hop culture, baggy shorts, and a street style of play to mainstream college basketball. Video of these guys is just awesome to watch as well — young Chris Webber in particular was a beast. Of the 5, all but Ray Jackson would reach the NBA with Howard, Webber, and Rose going on to illustrious NBA careers. Juwan Howard is still in the league (a member of the Miami Heat) while Rose ended his career averaging 14 ppg to Webbers 20 ppg. Not too shabby.

The most intriguing aspect of this documentary to me was the Fab 5’s viewpoint of their rival Duke Blue Devils, led by Grant Hill and Christian Laettner, who they refer to as “bitches.” Hill’s privileged upbringing acted as motivation for a young Jalen Rose, who came from a much rougher background. A young cocky Rose provides classic commentary throughout the film, which couples perfectly with Howard’s “we’re going to shock the world!” clip from the 1992 NCAA tournament. This documentary single-handedly made me a Jalen Rose fan (nice bling, FYI). His trash talking is nothing short of phenomenal.

If you’ve got a couple of hours between tournament games this month, you’ve got to check this one out.

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10 Comments

Filed under Basketball, TV/Entertainment

10 responses to “ESPN’s Fab 5 Documentary is a Winner

  1. j-bone

    Small correction but it is not a 30 for 30.

    I found it interesting that Webber did not want to be involved at all in the film.

  2. j-bone

    Jalen Rose is a funny guy. He kinda takes credit for putting the whole thing together. He thinks that Webber still has a sour taste in his mouth about the ncaa taking away their wins. Apparently the Bad Boy Pistons and the fab 5 were pretty close and would work out together.

  3. Todd

    I think its almost unfathomable how huge these kids got as freshman in college. They had an entire nation of high school kids copying their every move from their swagger to the black socks. The Fab Five were idolized by kids across the country, and yet I think we all forgot that they were just kids themselves. Top notch documentary.

  4. Here is an interesting retort to Rose essentially calling Grant Hill an “Uncle Tom” in the documentary:

    http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/grant-hills-response-to-jalen-rose/

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