Chris Webber Claims Michigan’s Athletic Director Wishes He Could ‘Apologize’ to an ’18-Year-Old’ Webber After the University Failed to ‘Protect Him’ as a College Star

Chris Webber, Michigan basketball player and All-American in the 1990s, commented on his recent struggles with the University of Michigan. He was suspended from the team after he failed to report to practice for two days in December.

Chris Webber will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021 after 15 years in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors selected Webber as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1993 NBA Draft, and he spent his most memorable NBA seasons with the Sacramento Kings in the early 2000s. But Webber will always be remembered for his time as a member of the Fab Five at the University of Michigan. Warde Manuel, Michigan’s current athletic director, told C-Webb that he wishes he could apologize to the 18-year-old version of Webber for failing to “protect him” when he was a star for the Wolverines in 2003.

Webber, 48, is now speaking up about his tumultuous college experience as he prepares to enter the Hall of Fame with Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, and Ben Wallace.

For ten years, the University of Michigan distanced itself from Webber.

Michigan Wolverines forward Juwan Howard, guard Jalen Rose, and forward Chris Webber (l to r) look on during a game as part of the Fab Five at Michigan.

Michigan Wolverines forward Juwan Howard, guard Jalen Rose, and forward Chris Webber (l to r) look on during a game as part of the Fab Five at Michigan. As members of the Fab Five at Michigan, forward Juwan Howard, guard Jalen Rose, and forward Chris Webber (l to r) watch during a game.

After pleading guilty to a criminal contempt charge, one of Michigan’s most gifted basketball players was removed from the school’s record books for a decade. After first denying it to a grand jury, Webber confessed to repaying a former Michigan supporter, Ed Martin, for more than $38,000. Martin had a strong relationship with the Fab Five, including Webber, and had previously testified that he had provided the forward and three other Michigan players a total of $600,000 throughout their collegiate careers.

According to ESPN, the institution distanced itself from Webber as a result of the guilty plea. He was effectively wiped from Michigan’s history, and he was barred from contacting the institution for a decade.

In an interview with ESPN, Webber claimed it was simpler for everyone to come after him than it was for his Fab Five teammates:

“I was the lowest-hanging fruit,” says the narrator. I was the most well-known. That was obvious to me at the time.”

Chris Webber discusses his involvement in the Ed Martin investigation.

Webber was re-admitted to the Michigan family, but he decided to stay away from the program.

The other Fab of C-Webb When the Wolverines played Louisville in the national championship game in 2013, five teammates — Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson — were invited, but Webber was unable to go.

Even though he was no longer legally disassociated from the institution, he stayed aloof from the program for the next several years.

Things have, however, started to improve gradually. On the invitation of Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, Webber attended a Michigan football game. Webber and Rose spent years without communicating, but when Webber was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the two eventually spoke – publically.

The institution and the now-Hall of Famer have continued to repair fences. The most recent development is a simple apology from Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel, who was a member of the Fab Five during their time at Michigan. During the same ESPN interview, Webber explained:

“The athletic director at the University of Michigan expressed regret to me. He wasn’t even in the room at the time. He said that he had done his homework and that he needed to apologize. In his own words, he has to “apologize to 18-year-old Chris Webber for not protecting him.”

Chris Webber recounts what Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said to him before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Even Howard, who is now the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, believes the Fab Five will rejoin at some point. “It’ll happen,” he predicted. “I won’t be able to tell you when.”

Chris Webber’s basketball résumé now includes a place in the Hall of Fame.

It’s been a long, sluggish process for all parties, but it seems that Webber is warming to the institution, and those in control are doing everything they can to speed things along. C-Webb hasn’t played for the Wolverines in almost 30 years, and it’s taken him more than eight years to be welcomed back.

Webber is one of the most significant players in Michigan basketball history. He was the most well-known member of one of the most well-known and important basketball teams in history. Whatever happened between him and the institution is being worked out.

As he approaches induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, that aspect of his career — the most crucial element — is more essential than ever.

RELATED: Examining the 2018 NBA Draft: The No. 1 Overall Pick Remains Irrational, and the Luka Doncic-Trae Young Trade Remains a Crucial Part of Recent NBA History