ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — The message inscribed on the shirt of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard, uttered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., felt fitting for the momentous occasion that took place inside Crisler Center on the day honoring the civil rights icon.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension; It is the presence of justice.
The absence of tension coming with the the Michigan basketball program’s NCAA-sanctioned disassociation with the Fab Five, the quintet that ushered in the greatest days in the history of Wolverines basketball, did not bring closure. The tension that emerged between two members of the group after their playing days was a sad turn that appeared to have no detente in sight. A health scare just a few months ago that saw one of the Fab Five’s other members, now the school’s head coach, have to go a scary procedure brought the group closer.
On Monday, justice felt as if it was served, with all members of the Fab Five — Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson — standing shoulder to shoulder on the court where they created a basketball legacy that changed the sport and saw them become pop culture icons, reuniting inside Crisler Center for the first time since 1993 as the current edition of the Wolverines defeated their rival, Ohio State, 73-65, on MLK Day on Monday.
Webber and Rose had a long-simmering feud stemming from the recounting of the NCAA scandal that led the NCAA to vacate the Wolverines’ Final Four appearances in 1992 and 1993, with the differences coming to ahead when the popular 2011 ESPN Films documentary The Fab Five was released. Webber was the only member of the group who did not make an appearance in the film to share his accounts of the program’s rise to prominence.
The two started to make amends in 2021, and the group came together to rally around Howard when he had to undergo open-heart surgery in September.
“If there a singular factor for us to be on the same page at the same time, it was me being in Ann Arbor, Michigan, watching my brother Juwan Howard lay on a gurney and about to have open-heart surgery,” Rose said.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday afternoon’s evening’s game, with all photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.