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Movie Review: The Fab Five

March 13, 2011

Stunning. Shocking. Riveting. Incredible. Amazing. That’s the first words you will hear out of people’s minds when they refer to ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary, The Fab Five. The documentary is based on the journey of a basketball team of five young freshmen at the University of Michigan during a two-year time period from 1991 to 1993. Director Jason Hehir captivated audiences by showing how the Fab Five came together, won together, lost together and even, fell apart at times.

Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson was, are and will forever be the Fab Five. The documentary shows the bond and brotherhood that came together on the University of Michigan’s campus and took the nation by storm. From being freshmen to start on a D-1 NCAA team (unheard of in that time period) to trendsetting basketball fashion with the long shorts, black socks and black shoes, the team personified a generation. The documentary also took a look at its impact on hip-hop culture and its seeming less integration with sports, especially basketball. In the film, you can see how the Fab Five became cultural icons and became a circus on the road with mass hysteria. However, everything wasn’t fine and dandy in Wolverine country. The team received vicious hate mail (some from its own alumni), how the team felt exploited once they noticed how the school and Nike was making profits off of them and the ultimate trial of a Michigan booster who paid players, which forced the NCAA to relinquish the Fab Five’s accomplishments, including its back-to-back Final Four appearances. From the wild rollercoaster ride of becoming a cultural phenomenon to the epic battles with Duke and UNC in the national title games, The Fab Five documentary captures it all, sort of.


While watching the documentary, it seemed one thing was missing, Chris Webber. He didn’t share one comment about the team or make an appearance to be interviewed. According to Jalen Rose, he contacted him several times to join in on this masterpiece, but Webber politely declined. Was it the “timeout”, the trial, who knows what made him not want to join, but I can guarantee C. Webb still has deep, dark feelings about his time in Michigan and wasn’t ready to acknowledge them yet.


Fab Five was an exceptional piece of work. From all the inner stories of Jalen Rose’s childhood/father to the Fab Five’s hatred for Duke to the “break-up” of the Fab Five, it was documented beautifully. It is a must buy for basketball lovers and truly ranks as one of the best 30 for 30 documentaries to date.

4.5 out of 5 stars!

What do you guys think?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Art permalink
    March 15, 2011 10:49 AM

    I concur the Fab Five documentary was brilliant look at one of the most influential squads that ever played in the NCAA. Very interesting social issues were brought up as well including the way universities exploit their student athletes. I think that the NCAA should compensate their student athletes, because if they can sign 10 billion dollar TV contract why can’t student-athletes eat a little bit?

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