How Did The Fab Five’s NBA Careers Turn Out?
As nearly two decades have passed since Michigan‘s “Fab Five” have competed together on the court, the question still lingers as to what happened to this group of superstar talents.
Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson made up this magnificent team that made it to the NCAA Championship game in consecutive seasons as both freshmen and sophomores in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
This group of individual stars were made infamous by the tell-all documentary made by ESPN’s critically acclaimed “30-for-30″ series, which showed how these young men changed the way we look at basketball forever with their long shorts, black socks and black shoes to accompany their trash-talking and cockiness.
This recruiting class is still considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all-time. Webber was ranked the no. 1 recruit in the country, Howard was ranked no. 3, Rose was ranked no. 6, King was ranked no. 9, and Jackson was ranked no. 84.
Some say this team started the trend for what would become of teams like John Calipari‘s 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats, who made it all the way to the NCAA championship game with a starting lineup that consisted solely of freshmen as well.
Today, the Fab Five are still remembered as one of the greatest classes in NCAA history, but only one player out of the five actually owns an NBA Finals Trophy, and that is Howard. He was the fifth overall pick in the 1994 draft by the Washington Wizards, and after bouncing around the league for 16 seasons, he finally found a home with Miami Heat where he won back-to-back championships.
Now, he may not have played a lot, but he’s still the only one with a championship ring. And as he has one year remaining on his contract, he may just win another title in Miami.
Jalen Rose left Michigan after his junior year as well, and was the 13th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets. Rose had most of his success with the Indiana Pacers when he helped them to three Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals in 2000. He also received the NBA’s Most Improved Player that same year. He is now an NBA analyst with ESPN.
Probably the most controversial of our five is Chris Webber, who supposedly took money from Ed Martin, a childhood friend and booster. Webber was brought in front of a grand jury by the NCAA to testify in light of these accusations and once found guilty, both of Michigan’s Final Four appearances have since been removed.
However, Webber went on to have great success in the NBA, as he was selected no. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic in 1993, and went on to have career averages of 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. His no. 4 was also retired by the Sacramento Kings. He is now an NBA analyst with TNT.
Our two lesser-known players are Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Both made attempts to become NBA players, but did not pan out as the others did. King played in only two NBA seasons with the Toronto Raptors and Nuggets, while only starting a single game for the Raptors in 1996. Jackson had even less success as he never made an NBA start and was cut by the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons in consecutive seasons.
King now works as a financial advisor for Merril Lynch on Wall Street, and Jackson heads a non-profit organization for kids called Rise Up Inc.