Mayce Edward Christopher Webber, III (born March 1, 1973, in Detroit, Michigan), better known as Chris Webber and nicknamed C-Webb, is a retired American professional basketball player. He is a 5-time NBA All-Star, a former All-NBA First Teamer, a former NBA rebounding champion, a former NBA Rookie of the Year, and a former #1 overall NBA Draftee. As a collegian, he is a former NCAA Men's Basketball first team All-American and he is well remembered for his leadership of the University of Michigan Wolverines' 1991 incoming freshman class known as the Fab Five that reached the 1992 & 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship games as Freshmen and Sophomores, and his involvement in the scandal that led to forfeiting those games. As a scholastic player he is a former National High School Basketball Player of the Year who led his high school to three Michigan State High School Basketball Championships.
On April 5, 1993, at Michigan's second consecutive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game, Webber infamously called a time-out with 11 seconds left in the game when his team, down 73-71, did not have any remaining, resulting in a technical foul that effectively clinched the game for North Carolina. The game marked the end of Webber's acclaimed two year collegiate basketball career. In his second season, he was a first team All-American selection and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year. These awards and honors have been vacated due to University of Michigan and NCAA sanctions related to the University of Michigan basketball scandal.
When Webber arrived, the Kings also signed center Vlade Divac and drafted point guard Jason Williams. In his first year with the Kings (the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season), Webber won the rebounding title averaging a league high 13.0 rebounds per game. The surprising Kings team made the playoffs, almost upsetting the veteran Utah Jazz. In years to come, Webber and the Kings became arguably the most exciting team in the league, and NBA title contenders. He was named to the All-Star team again in 2000 and 2001 while cementing his status as one of the premier power forwards in the NBA. Webber peaked in the 2000-01 season where he averaged a career-high 27.1 points. He also averaged 11.1 rebounds and was 4th in MVP voting. Webber was an All-NBA player five years in a row as a Sacramento King (1999-2003), making the 1st team in 2001 for the only time in his career.
On July 27, 2001 Webber signed a $127 million, seven-year contract with the Kings. In the 2001-02 NBA season, Webber led the Kings to a franchise record 61-21. He also made his fourth All-Star team and they made it to the Western Conference Finals, against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings led the series 3-2 but lost in 7 games. Webber was heavily critized for his performance in Game 7, 3/10 overall field goals in the 4th quarter and overtime periods combined.
The next season, Webber put up another superb year, averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds per game. He was cited as a possible MVP candidate, and made his fifth consecutive All-Star team. In a bad sign of what was to come, Webber missed the All Star game with an injured knee. Nevertheless, he returned and the Kings were among the favorites to win the NBA Championship.
In the second game of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks, Webber suffered a career-threatening knee injury while running down the lane untouched that forced him to miss nearly a year of action. After microfracture surgery, he returned for the final 25 games of the 2003-04 season, but his athleticism, agility, and mobility never was quite what it used to be.
On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Webber and Iverson were fined for not showing up at the Philadelphia 76ers final home game of the season, which was Fan Appreciation Night, although both of them were injured and not expected to play. The following day they both apologized for being absent.
During the 2006-07 season Webber only played 18 of 35 games for the Sixers leading the media to question his motivation. On January 11, 2007 Sixers GM Billy King announced that the Sixers and Webber had agreed to a reported $25 million contract buyout on the remaining two years left on his contract, in effect paying him not to play. Later that day, the Sixers waived Webber, making him a free agent.
On January 29, 2008, the Golden State Warriors signed Webber for the rest of the season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he will receive the pro-rated veteran's minimum of $1.2 million (approximately $570,000). This comes after a rejected offer by the Los Angeles Lakers who were trying to coax Webber in with two, 10-day contracts so they could decide afterwards if they wanted him the rest of the season. This has also put to rest talks of joining the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, or retirement. He played in only nine games for the Warriors, averaging 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game.
On March 25, 2008, Webber decided that he was done and officially retired from basketball due to persistent problems with his surgically repaired knee and was waived by the Warriors. On March 27, 2008, Webber made his first appearance on television on Inside the NBA on TNT, alongside Charles Barkley and host Ernie Johnson. April 25, 2008, TNT offered Webber a job to be a commentator for the post season.
Later in 1998 during the off-season, while leaving Puerto Rico on a promotional tour for Fila sneakers, Webber paid a $500 fine after U.S. Customs found marijuana in his bag. Soon after Fila dropped Webber as an endorser. Webber sued Fila for wrongful dismissal, but the case was thrown out of court.
In 2002, Webber was charged for lying to a grand jury as part of a larger investigation of a numbers gambling operation, run by Ed Martin, a booster of the University of Michigan basketball program, in Ford Motor Company plants in the Detroit area. The investigation, originally focused on the numbers operation and tax evasion, soon widened to include the University of Michigan basketball program. Martin was convicted on counts of tax evasion and robbery and was scheduled to testify on the financial connections between himself and Webber at a sentencing hearing, but died of a heart attack before the hearing.
As a result of evidence admitted during the course of Martin's trial, Webber pled guilty to one count of criminal contempt for lying about his role in a scandal in which four players, including himself, had accepted illicit loans from Martin. Martin had been giving money to Webber since the 8th grade. He admitted in the plea that in 1994 he gave Martin about $38,000 in cash as partial repayment for expenditures Martin made on his behalf.
Due to concerns that Webber's amateur status had been compromised, Michigan forfeited its victory in the 1992 Final Four over Cincinnati, as well as its runner-up status in the 1992 tourney. Michigan also forfeited the entire 1992-93 season, removed the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners from the Crisler Arena rafters, and deleted Webber's records from its record book. The NCAA also ordered Michigan to disassociate itself from Webber until 2012. Webber later called Michigan's decision "hurtful" because he and his Fab Five teammates "gave everything to Michigan" while they played there.
After Webber's plea, the Michigan State High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) recommended that Detroit Country Day forfeit all games in which Webber appeared (including three state championships), since according to his own admission, Webber had been accepting money from Martin since junior high school. The school conducted its own investigation, and called a press conference to announce it had found "no credible evidence" that Webber had accepted "substantial" amounts of cash from Martin while in high school, and therefore refused to forfeit any games. The MHSAA claimed it had no legal authority to force the games to be forfeited.
Webber was suspended by the NBA for a total of eight games—five for an unnamed violation of the league substance abuse policies and three for lying to the grand jury. Webber received the suspensions once he recovered from an injury that kept him out for half of the 2003-04 season.
However, Webber always put up big numbers (he averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for his whole career.) and will likely be a candidate for the Hall of Fame. Webber's soft hands and natural court sense made him one of the most prolific big-man passers in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors did not make the playoffs during the first 12 years after they traded Webber. In 1997 he led Washington to their first playoff appearance since 1989. They would not reach the playoffs again until 2005, 7 years after trading Webber. Prior to Webber's arrival in 1998, the Kings made the playoffs only twice (1985 and 1996) since they moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985.
Webber was ranked #64 in SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003.
Webber was ranked #11 in an Espn.com experts poll of the top power forwards of all time in 2008.
Webber is one of only six players to have career averages of 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists (Four of which are Hall of Famers: Baylor, Bird, Chamberlain, Cunningham. Kevin Garnett is still active)
In 2002, he made a cameo in the basketball comedy Like Mike with many other NBA stars.
On June 28, 2007, Webber unveiled his collection of African American artifacts during the Celebrating Heritage Exhibition at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. During a news conference, Webber said he believed that children can learn from these artifacts, "Hopefully, when children see them they will see there is no excuse for us not to be successful. There's no excuse not to find something that you love to do. There's no excuse to not work hard at it."
In 1999, Webber created C-Webb's Crew where a group of tickets at every Kings regular home season game would be donated to at-risk youth and their families. To date, over 3,000 youths and their families have attended a game through C-Webb's Crew.
Community awards Webber has won include the inaugural Sacramento Kings/Oscar Robertson Triple Double Award, which is annually awarded to a Kings player who exemplifies: team leadership, all-around game, and sportsmanship; the NBA Community Assist Award for his contributions in February 2003, and the Wish Maker of the Year in 2003 awarded by the Sacramento Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation.
More recently, Webber held a celebrity weekend, Bada Bling!, at the Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. The event was held from July 28 2006 – July 30 2006 and included a live auction and celebrity poker tournament. Many renowned NBA players participated including then-current and former teammates: Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, Andre Iguodala, Bobby Jackson, Kyle Korver, and his then-current coach, Maurice Cheeks. Other notable participants included Charles Barkley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gary Payton, Kenny Smith, Moses Malone, and Stephon Marbury. Numerous entertainers attended as well such as Nas and Common. All of the proceeds were donated to The Timeout Foundation.
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