Rose on raising Fab Five banners: ‘It will happen’

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Former Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose isn’t just holding out hope anymore.

He fully expects Michigan to someday, and potentially soon, restore the the Final Four banners to the Crisler Center rafters.

“It will happen, we all know it will happen,” Rose told The News last week, before being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. “You can’t erase the legacy of what took place.

“Hopefully something grave doesn’t have to happen to one of us for it to actually take place.”

The 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners were removed in 2002, wiping out the achievements of the fabled Fab Five — after the Ed Martin scandal came to light and, eventually, cost coach Steve Fisher his job.

It’s actually Fisher’s legacy that is the driving force behind the efforts of Rose and his former classmates, including Jimmy King, who has taken on the lead role of talking to university officials about again hanging the banners.

“How about a guy that coaches three championship games and won a national championship,” Rose said of Fisher, who took over as head coach of Michigan for the 1989 NCAA Tournament and won that year’s title, before taking the Fab Five to two more Final Fours.

“You walk across that campus and you don’t see his name anymore. So it’s more so for him and his legacy, and all of our fans and supporters.”

Fisher, 72, coached the past 18 seasons at San Diego State, making the NCAA Tournament eight times before retiring in April.

Rose, 44, joined King, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson as members of the Fab Five, the baggy shorts-, black-socks-wearing quintet that made the national-championship game in 1992 and 1993, losing to Duke and North Carolina, respectively.

In 1997, the scandal involving Martin, a big-time booster, came to light, and Fisher was fired. Five years later, Michigan took down the Final Four banners, and vacated seasons’ worth of victories.

Rose said he’s found new athletic director Warde Manuel to be receptive in talks to hang the banners again.

“Yes, in the conversations I’ve had with a couple people that are trying to work on it, I think so, I hope so,” said Rose, the headliner during a Fab Five forum on campus in October. “Again, I stress, hopefully it doesn’t happen because something dire happened to one of us.”

A public show of remorse from Webber could go a long way toward putting the banners on display again, but there’s been no sign of that happening. Webber doesn’t talk to his former teammates, and never even responded to an invitation to attend the Fab Five forum.

Rose, who now works for ESPN and ABC, also addressed the Jemele Hill controversy. Hill, a fellow Detroit native, took serious heat recently for calling President Trump a “white supremacist.” She apologized and ESPN apologized, before a White House spokesperson called the remarks a “fireable” offense.

“I love Jemele,” Rose said. “She’s allowed to express an opinion about what’s happening in society as a tax-paying citizen, as all of us do.”