Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chris Webber

As a Michigan man I guess I'm supposed to have hatred and other forms of animosity towards Chris Webber. After all, all Michigan fans know he was the reason for the implosion of Michigan basketball. And sure, I was in school during the 3rd year of the Fab Five (minus C-Webb by that point). So I was aware of the "benefits" of being a basketball star. Still, I have never been able to muster that hatred. For I was always mesmerized by the unbelievable talent Webber possessed. And since I followed him from his sophomore year at Country Day High School, he was always my guy. Yeah, I know what he did but you need to stick by your guy. And that's what I did.

With Webber's retirement yesterday, it's probably a little premature to reflect on his career and Hall of Fame chances. But who cares. As the above suggests, I am not the most unbiased observer. But I also think I'm reasonable. Looking back, Joe Dumars should not have made the Hall of Fame, though he was close. So the other side is Webber, someone who should probably just make it but unfortunately probably never will.

In my lifetime, Webber was one of the most talented basketball players ever. From just Power Forwards, he's definitely Top 5 talent. There's Malone, Duncan, Webber, and Garnett. I would argue that Webber was more talented than Duncan and too close to call with Garnett. Based on talent alone, Webber should have dominated the league. And that is where the frustration starts. For while his career was good, it was never great. And it could have been great. But Chris never seemed to want greatness and would settle for goodness. He appeared to be very well rounded, with basketball just a facet to his life. It was never the all encompassing thing it was/is to Malone and Garnett. And that might make him a more interesting person. But it also made his career feel like a failure, even though it should be celebrated as a success. For sports should be as much about the individual as it is about the fan. We probably demand a certain level of commitment that is unrealistic. Just imagine if we applied our warped sports mentality to the workplace.

So on this day I want to recognize and appreciate Chris Webber for everything he gave me. Thanks C-Webb.


sports basketball NBA Chris Webber University Michigan Hall of Fame


Blogger Craig said...

Nice post, Tom.

Good point about the demands put on athletes by fans. I suppose it comes with the salaries though.

Webber's 16-foot jump shot was so pretty and a rare feature in modern basketball. Baggy shorts aside, C-Webb was something of a throwback. I will miss him.

3/28/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tom G said...

Thanks. We all do it but it's good sometimes to remember that athletes are people and will therefore be flawed. Just because you are good at something or tall doesn't mean you love doing it. For some it's just a job and we fault them out of the jealousy we have for wanting their job.

3/29/2008 01:43:00 PM  

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