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The story of Chris Webber and his “Fab Five” teammates at the University of Michigan has been told a number of times, including in a well-reviewed ESPN documentary from 2011. It hasn’t, however, been told from Webber’s perspective.
The former NBA All-Star is developing a limited scripted series, called Fab Five, that will tell the story of the group — Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King and Jalen Rose — who constituted the greatest recruiting class in college basketball history when they enrolled at Michigan in the early 1990s and went to two NCAA championship games.
It’s based on Webber’s forthcoming autobiography, By God’s Grace, and is the first project to stem from a partnership between Webber and Peter Gilbert’s Webber/Gilbert Productions and Cashmere Originals, the content arm of advertising and marketing firm the Cashmere Agency (FX’s Atlanta, HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show).
“What I think is different about it is I’ve never spoken about my time with the Fab Five,” Webber, now an NBA analyst for TNT, told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes that not many people know about, and it’s about so many things. Hopefully I’ll be able to express those things, whether it’s about Detroit or the work ethic of the city and the factories — all those things that made us.”
Howard, now the basketball coach at Michigan, and Jackson will be consultants on the project. Webber and producing partner Gilbert (PBS’ Charm City) are developing Fab Five with Russell Redeaux, head of development at Cashmere Originals. The three are currently talking with potential writers for the project.
“Once Chris and I had a chance to get together and hear his vision for Webber/Gilbert Productions and the projects they’re working on and interested in making, there’s definitely an alignment with our vision at Cashmere Originals to tell multicultural stories of inclusion,” Redeaux told THR. “With that alignment and me being a guy who grew up in the same era of the Fab Five, it was sort of a dream come true project to bring it into our company fold and work with Chris.”
Webber told THR he is also working on a documentary about the Fab Five and his time at Michigan, which included two trips to the Final Four that were vacated after a later investigation revealed Webber was one of several players who had taken improper loans from a booster named Ed Martin. He said putting together the doc and writing the book have been “gut wrenching” at times, but “I think I’m better for it.”
“One of the things we discovered in the process of getting to know Chris and learning about the projects he’s working on, the autobiography, the documentary, we discovered that Chris is a brilliant writer in his own right,” said Redeaux. “So this project is through his lens, and him contributing significantly to the development and packaging of this limited series.”
Said Webber, “It’s awesome to be able to look back with a clear vision and being older, to share with the world what it was. And not to be coy, to face all the controversy that was there too. But it’s wonderful that Juwan is back there coaching, and everyone’s still involved and still in love with basketball. I’m just so excited to tell this story and clear the lane for some other people to tell their stories.”
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