Chris Webber will finally be inducted into the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class. For Webber, this moment has been a long time coming. Webber was one of the most underrated players in the history of the NBA.
But his impact on the sport extends far beyond his time in the NBA. Webber was part of the Fab Five from the University of Michigan, a historic group of players that included Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard, and Ray Jackson.
The five players helped lead Michigan to a national championship game, while all being rookie players in the conference. But their legacy is somewhat tarnished by the controversy surrounding their activities during games.
In the NBA, Webber was a star in the league. He entered the league in 1993 as the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, going to the Golden State Warriors. The next season, he moved to the Washington Bullets, and played there till 1998, becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career.
His most successful stint came in Sacramento, where he was part of one of the most exciting teams in the NBA with Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac. The Kings of the early 2000s came closest to toppling the Lakers at full strength in the Western Conference Finals.
But Webber's career never ended with him winning an NBA title. Despite this, he was a multiple-time All-Star and All-NBA player, before retiring in 2008.
For Webber, this moment has been a long time coming. In a recent feature interview he did with ESPN, Webber spoke candidly about finally becoming a Hall Of Famer. Webber waited for this moment for a long time and did feel frustrated with each passing year that he didn't get the call.
But the support from his friends and family made the snub stingless. And despite all the good things that happened in Webber's life, he still yearned for the day that is now nearly here; when he can call himself a Hall Of Famer.
“I always thought that I would be blessed enough, lucky enough, to be a Hall of Famer. I thought the résumé showed that, but no one is entitled to that. So every year [I didn't get in] it would hurt, and the main focus that I focused on was [to not] focus on who went in the Hall of Fame that year. For a while, it was keeping blinders on. Don't think about it, stay into work.”
“But a lot of Hall of Famers called and supported me, and a lot of teammates said, 'Wait, you know, we support you, we can't believe this happened,' so it was tough. Actually, the first time I got the call [four years ago], I'd been trying eight years to have a child. And you get that 'No' and [now] I had a little newborn baby with me, so really it was like, 'God, I can't be upset. And I thank you for your blessings. I'd been praying for this but at the same time, c'mon, you know I was killing dudes out there.' That's how I looked at it.”
Webber will join Paul Pierce and Chris Bosh among other players in the 2021 Hall Of Fame class. After many years of waiting, Webber will be enshrined in the annals of basketball history.