The NCAA 2009 Final Four festivities will be in Detroit this April. And, in an interesting and ironic twist, The Fab Five (aka Voldemorts) will be reunited at a charity event at...get this....the Motor City Casino.
Yep, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson will be in Detroit to benefit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
As you may recall, this band of fabulous freshmen led the Michigan basketball team to the NCAA title games in 1992 and 1993. Right before leading the Michigan basketball program into perdition......
Now the program may have made it's peace with Jalen...apparently no act is egregious enough to turn down a $240,000 endowed scholarship. Granted, Jalen wasn't "down" with Ed Martin like Chris Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor, and Louis Bullock were, but I'm guessing those guys prollally bought some dinners for Jalen once in a while...them bein' all flush and whatnot from Mr. Martin's generosity.....I find it ridiculously hard to believe that everyone involved with the program didn't know EXACTLY what was going on. Hell, even graduate students like me heard the rumors at the time.
As a complete pseudo non sequitor--I was watching ESPN's "Outside The Lines" this weekend and they had a very interesting story about the 'package deals' that abound in college basketball. So and so's high school coach or daddy or AAU coach being hired by a particular school in order to insure the matriculation of one or more players.....seems like the same sort of quid pro quo gig that Ed Martin (and many a booster like him) had going to me, and why it's not being addressed is beyond me....BUT I DIGRESS
So here are my top 10 comments to the Voldemorts and the Benefit Organizers:
#10) At a casino??? really??? like the marriage of college sports and gambling hasn't gotten everyone in deep shit already??
#9) Hmmm a charity event for a museum...how about a dinner at the Ritz or something? or if it's really about basketball, how about a little 5 on 5 game? you gotta take all the altruistic folk to the casino for the alcohol, gambling, and 'dancers'. for shame.
#8) Amazing chutzpah to be playing off your infamy at Michigan. Don't you guys get that you should be ashamed not proclaimed?
#7) Why during the tourney? if the benefit is for the Black History Museum why not have the benefit in February---er, during...wait for it..........................
Black History Month???
#6) Do you really think that people want to see you guys all fat and bald now??
#5) Like you didn't embarrass Michigan enough?
#4) you've got to come back and bring up all the old stories (and wounds for us) including a) the recruiting car accident, b) Ed Martin, c) NCAA sanctions d) the banner return etc. No thanks.
#3) We don't want or need the negative attention you will once again generate for the University of Michigan and our basketball program that is just barely coming off of life-support. Please don't torpedo it AGAIN.
#2) Your presence will be a distraction to the tourney---and will result in the continous replay of that damned time out that wasn't.....
#1) You are going to steal the spotlight from the City and all of the positive perceptions that could come from holding a benefit for a museum AT the museum. Instead of highlighting the cultural aspects of our city and perhaps doing just a bit to rebuild our image you've got to go to the Motor City Casino---setting up every damned sports writer and TV wonk for negative comments on this city about gambling, losing, betting, show girls etc etc etc.