Some Michigan basketball royalty was in attendance for the win, with Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson sitting courtside to watch head coach Juwan Howard lead their alma mater to victory. Per longtime Michigan sports writer Larry Lage, it was the first time every member of the Fab Five has been at the Crisler Center together since their playing days.
The Fab Five is in the building pic.twitter.com/Rw9yHjwurZ— Kellen Voss (@Kellen__Voss) January 15, 2024
It was evident how happy Howard was to not only win this game to snap a five-game losing streak, but also to see his teammates support him for the victory.
“I’m still on an emotional high, just to see my brothers to show up on a day so special when you need them the most,” Howard said. “When you have a team that’s been fighting so hard like our team and coming up short, game after game, and sometimes having doubt that creeps into your mind because you have those human emotions, but to see a group of brothers that have put on a jersey before and have been through tough times. To see them walk in that door and uplift that group the way they inspired them with their presence, it was special to see. And it was special to be apart of it.”
“Overall collectively, it was nice to Jalen, Chris, Jimmy and Ray step into Crisler for old times sake,” Juwan continued.
Michigan’s Fab Five is at Crisler for a basketball game for the first time since they played here pic.twitter.com/UGcNzBebtd— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) January 15, 2024
When asked about the backstory about getting everyone together today, Howard acknowledged how hard it is to get together with schedules and life in general being busy. But with today being a holiday, he credited two members of the Fab Five in particular for making it happen.
“I can’t take full responsibility for this one, I would give Jalen all of the credit, and I would add some of the credit to Ray,” Howard said. “Like I said before, we all have different schedules and we all have families and we all have obligations...to see with those schedules that everyone was able to sacrifice their time and (put in) effort to be here, it was a special moment and I expect this won’t be the last.”
Howard did acknowledge that certain members of the Fab Five have been in attendance when he coached NCAA Tournament games, but seeing every member of that team here today was particularly special for Juwan.
“When I got the job, all four guys reached out and were so happy for me, like they got the job,” Howard said. “With the support, whether they were able to make or not make it, I’ve always been a phone call or text message (away)...it was nice to see that today’s schedule worked out for everyone. I expect to see them all back again, when time permits.”
In a cool moment postgame, the Fab Five celebrated the win together at halfcourt, with everyone dapping each other up before one of the most legendary teams in Michigan men’s basketball — and college basketball — history posed together for photos.
For those of you reading like myself who aren’t old enough to remember watching the Fab Five, I highly recommend the ESPN Films documentary about those teams. You will learn a lot of required knowledge when it comes to Michigan hoops, like many former and current players have.
“I watched the documentary, it was cool,” Olivier Nkamhoua, who led the team with 20 points in the win, said when asked about the Fab Five being there. “It was cool to see them show love and support. It was nice to meet them, they had good things to tell us and they’e very supportive and the whole team appreciates that.”
Hang the damn banners.