Legacy Left Behind: Chris Webber

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Chris Webber
(Photo via NBA.com)

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Chris Webber has seen the highs and lows of a basketball career. The former number one overall pick of the 1993 NBA draft had great college success with the University of Michigan and the Fab Five, and success in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, but was never able to achieve the ultimate goal, a championship. An NBA title seemed so likely for the guy that was in the Final Four and was close many times to an NBA Finals appearance. Let’s take a look at what made Webber the player we know him as today.

The Timeout

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Webber is best known for calling a timeout in the NCAA National Title game in 1993. Michigan was down 73-71 to North Carolina and Webber was trapped in the corner and called timeout when his team had none left. This eventually lead to North Carolina winning the national title that year and Webber coming up short of a national title, something that he would come to know all too well.

The Passer

Chris Webber was known as one of the best passing big men to ever play the game of basketball. The beauty of his presence on the court was that he drew an extra defender. Being able to draw other defenders to his side of the court creatied cutting lanes for his teammates which created extra scoring opportunities. He made the game so much easier for his guard teammates like Mike Bibby and Doug Christie since he was a great passer. Webber averaged 4.2 assists for his career and averaged a career high 5.5 assists in his last season with Sacramento. Webber, as I will talk about later in this post, had problems with his first NBA coach because he wanted to transfer his game into a primarily post player, despite Webber being able to stretch the floor with his ball handling and passing abilities. Regardless, Webber’s bread and butter came through distributing the basketball for his teammates in ways most big men can’t seem to do.

The Bad Notion

Originally drafted by the Orlando Magic, Webber was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway and three first-round picks. It worked out for the Magic, but the Warriors had the bad end of the deal as Webber was only in the Oakland area for one season. He had his differences with then Warriors coach Don Nelson which eventually led to Webber being traded to the Washington Bullets in his second season. The Warriors did not make the playoffs for the next twelve seasons after they traded Webber. Webber brought success to any team that he was on because Washington would make the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, and when he was traded by the Wizards, they wouldn’t make the playoffs for another seven years.

Chris Webber was a five-time NBA All-Star but was still always hampered with the notion that he wouldn’t be able to win an NBA title. It could have been due to the fact that Webber seemed like a bad teammate. I personally think it was more due to the fact that in the prime of his career, he was stuck behind the Lakers’ tandem of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. He faced them in multiple Western Conference Finals and could just never get over the hump. Webber was the superstar stuck in the small market city.

For a guy that was never a champion in the NBA, Webber still had himself a great career, and he will go down as one of the all-time great power forwards. Today we can see him on the TNT Broadcast during both NBA and NCAA Tournament games. I love that he is still involved in the game of basketball today, and still trying to further expand his knowledge of the game.

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