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Webber: 'We're on right path' for Fab Five reunion

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Time heals wounds and helps bring people back together.

And it appears legendary Fab Five member Chris Webber is no different.

During an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday, Chris Webber (middle) expressed his desire to reunite with former Michigan and Fab Five teammates Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson at some point in the future.

During an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday, Webber expressed his desire to reunite with former Michigan and Fab Five teammates Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson at some point in the future.

"It will happen but it had to be natural, it had to be really on my time," said Webber, who accepted an invitation from Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh last week to be an honorary captain at a home game this season.

"It had to be something where you can have a conversation, and I think we're going to have that conversation coming up. I addressed all these issues, but I think it's something that you have to have conversation, not people trying to grandstand.

"I think we're going to have some great conversations and hopefully the fans that go to Michigan, that love Michigan, especially ones as much as I do, will enjoy it when we come back together because that's what we want."

Webber, of course, has a fractured legacy and relationship with Michigan. He starred for the Wolverines and helped them reach the national title game in 1992 and 1993, both losses, before leaving for the NBA following his sophomore season.

Then after he was the only Fab Five member linked to former booster Ed Martin and a $616,000 payment scandal, it led to the NCAA mandating a 10-year disassociation between Webber and Michigan — a penalty that ended in 2013 — and both the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners being taken down at Crisler Center.

Webber caught flak when he didn't sit courtside with his Fab Five teammates during Michigan's national title game appearance against Louisville in 2013. Instead, Webber watched from a suite and argued he wasn't allowed to sit with the team because of the disassociation ban. 

Since the ban ended, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein said he has reached out to Webber numerous times but to no avail. Still, Beilein said Tuesday he's "going to continue to try and build bridges and just really work at making sure there's a lot of healing going forward."

More: Beilein aims to 'build bridges' between Webber, Michigan

Webber also didn't respond to invitations for an October 2016 campus forum celebrating the 25th anniversary of the teams. He was the lone member of the Fab Five who didn't participate in the event and in a documentary on the team.

"Let me take full credit for every time a fire was made and I didn't come out and say, 'Hey, wait a minute. It's not like that,'" Webber said. "That's not my personality and that hurts a lot because the fans do need to see that."

Webber said he still talks often with Howard and Jackson but hasn't spoken with Rose, whom he has a "private beef" with and has been "trolled" by, in a long time.

"You can not be cool with one person and still be cool with other guys," Webber said. "The guys are my boys and when you're brothers, you're going to get into it and you'll get back together." 

On Monday's ESPN show "Get Up," Rose said he was thrilled to hear Webber accepted Harbaugh's offer and was going back to Ann Arbor because his disconnect from Michigan "put a ceiling on the acknowledgement of the Fab Five and on (coach) Steve Fisher."

However, Rose added he wasn't surprised by the news and called it a "calculated" move in Webber's bid to help his case for Hall of Fame candidacy. Webber was one of 13 finalists for the induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year, but didn't make the cut.

"It's a terrific gesture. It's well past due. I'm elated that it's happening, but the one person I'm pretty sure is probably like what's going on is John Beilein," Rose said. "Because the last time I checked he didn't play football. He played basketball.

"It'd be great and again I'm not parsing him going back. ... I'm excited in any way, shape or form. I'm elated that it's happening overall, but ultimately I would love if he could also give that level of support to Michigan basketball, who actually was in the national championship game this year. I'm going to be interested to see how that part of it plays out, but I'm happy for him, I'm happy for the university and it's long overdue."

And while he may be coming back to Michigan Stadium for a football game, Webber said he's looking forward to the day he'll be able to reunite with his Fab Five teammates at midcourt in Crisler Center.

"There's nothing I would want more than that, and I think we're on the right path for that, but I think there has to be conversation organically," Webber said. "Very honestly a lot of people were pushing it for money because the (documentary) was out. My thing is you have to be sincere, address (it) and then move forward because all the other stuff is always going to be there and to do it for anything else — if we start that way we're going to end up right back where we are.

"For the fans I want to do it, for myself, for my family, for hoopers. It's something I think we're working toward."