Hall of Famer Chris Webber credited an unlikely mentor at his induction ceremony into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Chris Webber credits an unlikely mentor at his induction ceremony.
Chris Webber’s journey to the Basketball Hall of Fame took longer than some may have anticipated. After a last appearance as an NBA player with the Golden State Warriors in 2008, he retired and waited almost a decade for a call after attaining eligibility. Before being erased from the record books, Webber enjoyed a stellar two-year career at the University of Michigan.
Injury issues, contract disagreements, and personality conflicts marred his NBA career, which had moments of supremacy with the Sacramento Kings. Webber drew extensively on his Detroit background in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, naming an unexpected mentor who helped him in two separate professions.
Chris Webber survived a humiliating experience on national television.
Chris Webber’s two-year tenure at Michigan featured back-to-back appearances in the national championship game, despite the fact that it never technically occurred (one must marvel at the NCAA’s capacity to alter history).
Webber led a precocious all-freshman starting team through the tournament the first time around, but reigning champion Duke blasted away the Wolverines in the 1992 championship. Michigan was about to equal or take the lead over North Carolina late in the game the following year when Webber made a game-changing error.
With 19 seconds remaining and Michigan down by two, Webber recovered a missed free throw by UNC’s Pat Sullivan. The sophomore standout dribbled upcourt and called timeout after avoiding a traveling penalty. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were out of timeouts. Following the technical penalty, North Carolina clinched the game with free throws.
His professional career was also star-crossed. Webber has never appeared in an NBA Finals game. The only time he came close was in the Kings’ infamous 2002 Western Conference Finals defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers. In Springfield, Webber made a point of thanking a former opponent for his assistance.
Webber’s strong friendship with Charles Barkley has gotten a lot of attention.
Charles Barkley (L) and Isiah Thomas presented Chris Webber (R) with his Hall of Fame induction. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Chris Webber thanked fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley for his assistance during his speech at the Hall of Fame:
“It is an honor to have my guy Charles Barkley welcome me to the Hall of Fame. From a power-forward position, you altered the way the game was played. You’ve taught me the path in life on many occasions.”
Webber met Barkley for the first time while still at Detroit Country Day School.
“It was in high school the first time… I had the opportunity to meet you, and I studied your game; I understood your reality, and I knew you had a personality,” Webber said. “You encouraged me and praised me. When I first saw you, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, maybe I can do what my favorite player claims I can.’
Later, as a commentator for TNT, Barkley mentored Webber.
Chris Webber’s legacy is complex.
Chris Webber’s time at Michigan was tarnished by a controversy. In the 1990s, he was one of four players from the team who were found guilty of accepting money from supporter Ed Martin by the NCAA. According to USA TODAY, the others were Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor, and Louis Bullock. This resulted in a ten-year separation from the institution.
Meanwhile, the gang was held apart for years by a long-running dispute between boyhood pals Webber and Jalen Rose. The presence of the other members of the famous trio was one of the highlights of Webber’s induction. Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson, among others, watched their old college teammate Rose inducted.
Webber averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in 15 NBA seasons. In 2003, he had a serious knee injury that limited his efficiency for the remainder of his career. Webber, on the other hand, had a reputation as a player who avoided attempting huge shots in the clutch. In a 2003 interview with The Associated Press, he discussed this.
One has to question whether the wounds left by the 1993 timeout tragedy at the Louisiana Superdome had a role in their hesitancy. Chris Webber deserves credit for owning the situation from the outset and putting together a career that has just recently been acknowledged for its brilliance.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
Chris Webber Finally Talks About His infamous Timeout Call, Admits He Needed His ‘Mom’s Cooking’ After Embarrassing Mistake
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