Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chris Webber Calls It Quits

(Doug Christie, Mike Bibby, and Chris Webber in happier times)
As a loyal Sacramento Kings fan, I feel compelled to write something about the retirement of Chris Webber, but I'm having trouble coming up with much to say.

Webber may very well have been the best player Sacramento ever had, and while you can have a legitimate debate about which player deserves the most credit for the Kings' "glory years" (some might say Peja, others Vlade, or even Bibby), it would be foolish to think that the Kings could have gone as far as they did without Webber. He didn't want to come to Sacramento, but once he was here he played great, and in 2002 he was one of the best two or three players in the entire league.

Everything began to go downhill when Webber suffered a terrible knee injury in the 2003 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks. He was never the same player, and the Kings were never the same team. Less than two years later he was gone, and his contributions to the teams he played for after that (Philadelphia, Detroit, Golden State) weren't terribly memorable.

He wasn't a bad guy when he was in Sacramento, but neither was he a fan favorite, aside from the fact that all fans like whoever their best player happens to be. Though unfair, in the end he will probably be best remembered for his gaffe in the 1993 NCAA Championship game, the "phantom time-out" (on top of the uncalled travel) which cost his Michigan team - the famous "Fab Five" - a their best chance at winning a title. And that's how it always seemed to turn out for Webber - close, but no cigar.

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