Almost 15 years ago, the college basketball world and the American public tuned into near record numbers to see a national title game that has gone on to live in infamy.
The Michigan Wolverines and the heralded Fab Five had just returned to NCAA Championship game and were heavy favorites against the Eric Montross led Tar Heels.
In that historic finish, Chris Webber was called for a technical while asking for a timout that just wasnt there, which assured the win for North Carolina.
Flash forward to February 26th 2008, the Golden State Warriors have just won a game against the Sonics. Sitting on the bench for most of the game, a familiar face is back to where his pro career started to finally claim that championship that has eluded a Hall of Fame caliber career.
After years of being a focal point of his teams offence, Chris Webber must now, at the age of 35, contend with the fact that he is an extra body on a young and talented team on the verge of contention.
The Warriors signed him for the remainder of the season as a calming influence to the maturing squad, which is quite a difference to his first go around in Oakland.
Fab Five becomes one
Obtained on draft day from the Magic, the Warriors believed that he would bring the team back to contention after suffering through a reconstruction period following the Run DMC years, and while he had a great season, capturing the Rookie of the Year, he could not see eye to eye with his coach Don Nelson, and forced a trade at the conclusion of his first year to the Bullets.
Reunited with his fellow fab-fiver Juwan Howard, Webber quickly established himself as one of the better power forwards in the league, leading the Washington team to the playoffs for the first time in years, but still never being able to exit the first round, with a lack of a strong team to surround him.
Having worn out his welcome with yet another team, he was traded to a squad where he would experience the greatest sucesses and failures of his career.
From one capital to another
Reluctant to go to another losing team, he was convinced by the Kings front office that they would do everything they could to make the team a contender around him.
With good free agent signings and wise draft picks, Sacramento quickly become the most exciting team to watch in the NBA with the high tempo offence preferred by coach Rick Adelman.
Averaging over 55 wins a season during his run with the team and putting up career numbers, Webber still could not lead his team past the second round most years, and the one time they did they met the Lakers juggernaut.
In one of the most exciting playoff series in NBA history, the heated rivals traded games with the Lakers edging out the Webber and Bibby led Kings in the seventh game.
Following that season, Chris Webber went on to more regular season success, but hampered by serious knee injuries he could never lead his team back to the same heights.
While still one of the games best power forwards, management started the rebuilding process by trading him to the Sixers in 2005.
Two stars are better then one?
The much heralded arrival of Chris Webber, was met with great fanfare, as he was the fans anwser to the championship that the city hadnt seen since 1986.
While it took him time to fit in to the offensive plans of the team, his arrival helped the team make a push to the playoffs only to be bounced by the eventual champions the Detroit Pistons.
During the next two seasons, the years of injuries finally caught up to Webber, and while he still possessed many of his offensive skills, his lack of mobility made him a liabilty on defense which led to a buyout and an unheralded run with Detroit late last year.
Not willing to let go
Before the start of the current season, not being able to catch on with an NBA team, rumors circulated that Webber would sign with a team in the Greek A1 league.
Deciding to stay at home, his career seemingly over, he found the urge to give it one last go and he re-signed with his original team with the knowledge that he would be a complimentary player to a rising squad.
From his time as a college superstar, to his rise as one of the best basketball players of his generation, to his legal troubles stemming from his college games, the young brat now has one last chance for that one championship ring, as a wise and battle tested veteran.
Coming home could not be sweeter...