Chris Webber Has More Bounce! Life After the NBA, Bada Bing Weekend and Hip-Hop Love

  Back in the early ‘90s, Chris Webber exploded onto the sports and Hip-Hop scene as a member of the University of Michigan’s legendary Fab Five Freshman. With their bald heads, baggy yellow shorts, black shoes and socks, swagger and their “me against the world” attitude, the Fab Five transcended the game by bringing Hip-Hop […]


Back in the early ‘90s, Chris Webber exploded onto the

sports and Hip-Hop scene as a member of the University of Michigan’s legendary

Fab Five Freshman. With their bald heads, baggy yellow shorts, black shoes and

socks, swagger and their “me against the world” attitude, the Fab Five transcended

the game by bringing Hip-Hop culture to college basketball.


After Michigan,

C-Webb went to have successful 15-year NBA career, highlighted by the 1994

Rookie of the Year Award and six All-Star Game appearances.


Off the court, the Detroit native’s charity work is just as

impressive. Over the years, Chris has gone above and beyond with his time and

money to help people in need. His desire to want to help kids in the African-American

community shows the kind of heart Chris has.


On the July 25-27 weekend, Chris and some of the biggest

names in sports and entertainment head to Vegas for his Third Annual Bada Bing

Weekend at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort. All proceeds will benefit

the Chris Webber Foundation – which aims to build private schools in the

nation’s toughest inner-cities. 


C-Webb sat down with us to talk more about the big weekend, his thoughts on the League, his own career and of course, Hip-Hop.  You

finally hung it up this season. How’s retired life going so far?


Chris Webber: Well you know what’s funny, I don’t feel

retired yet, because at the end of the basketball season I always have this

time off, so I don’t think I’ll feel it until October when we usually start

training again. So I’m kind of in denial that I’m retired, so we’ll see how it

goes, hopefully it will still go well. With the injury, your last comeback attempt with

Golden State didn’t go exactly as planned. Are you comfortable with how it all



Chris Webber: Definitely because I did all I could do. I’m

always looking at KG when he won a championship, and I was just happy for him.

And I told him to “be blessed to play with two other great players” – it’s just

a blessing. You are here to make the most of it that’s what you work for. He

did the most that he could do, and I feel with my career looking back, I really

did the most I could do with what I had. Of course you make mistakes and you

would take some things back, but I had a 15-year career. Who would have ever

thought? So I’m just really happy about that. Going back to your last team Golden State. A

lot of players have opted out so far this summer. What is your take on Baron Davis



Chris Webber: You know, Baron’s a great guy. I know he

wanted to win a championship. I know that him bringing me there was an effort

for him to kind of do all he could do. I believe he was trying to get as much

help as he can get. I know he’s from the L.A.

area and I’m sure money had a lot to do with it. But at the end of the day, I

know Baron, and I know being close to home, and as a player believe me, you go

home in front of your nieces, nephews, kids and family it just makes life

better. So I’m sure that’s why he did it, but he’s one of the best point guards

I ever played with, so I’m sure he’ll make that team better. Where do the Warriors go from here? If you

were Chris Mullin what would you do to turn around that franchise?


Chris Webber: That’s a good question. I just have to

re-evaluate everything. I know I have a leader in Stephen Jackson. I know he

can get it done. The little fella, their point guard Monta Ellis is awesome,

he’s gonna be an All-Star in one or two years. Also Biedrins. They have a

really good team, I just think that they are going to need a veteran presence,

and I see they’ve been talking to Corey Maggette and other people. The J-Rich

trade kind of hurts right now.


So, I don’t know, I’d just re-evaluate things and hopefully

keep my style of play, because in the West Coast, there are three teams that

made the playoffs this year that probably won’t make it. So I just to a lot of

praying and make sure I get the best player possible if I were Chris Mullin. Were you surprised Elton Brand didn’t stay in

LA to play with Baron? Because that would have been a scary combo.


Chris Webber: That would have been. But its so much more

than the guys you want to play with. I know that Elton is from New York and

he’s been on the West Coast a good seven or eight years, I’m sure he’s get

ready to get back home. Sometimes its just as simple as that. The East is wide

open and he’s got a better chance to win in the East than he does in the West.

He can at least make the playoffs. Tell us a little about the Third Annual Bada

Bing Weekend?


Chris Webber:  It’s

the third annual like you said. All proceeds benefit my foundation, and my

foundation centers around children and education in tough economic situations.

We’ve centered no into building schools in our inner-cities. I was fortunate

enough to go to college preparatory school in high school and that was only

because I could play basketball. I would like to build these kinds of schools

inside of our neighborhoods.


This weekend [July 25-27] is going to be a fun weekend.

Friday night we have a poker tournament and also have a concert, we have my man

Too Short and D-Nice – he’s gonna be out there and perform. Saturday, we have

our golf tournament and a pool party as well. And Saturday, we got Raphael Saadiq

and Gladys Knight performing. So its really just an event where we bring people

out and try to have as much fun as possible. We give you as much literature on

our situation and our children as much as possible. And we try to have fun and

try to give back as many donations. It’s just a weekend for both sides and let

people know that they have a way where they can help our children. What is your ultimate vision for these



Chris Webber: Well, the ultimate vision of these schools is

to educate and give self awareness and confidence to our children in the

inner-cities. To give them the tools, to give them the resources that they

don’t see in our public schools in the inner cities. I think our children have

been forgotten and they have been left behind and its up to us in the community

to make it better.


A lot of us in the work force know it’s really about who you

know, how hard you work and finding something that you love to do and sticking

with it. Our kids aren’t really being taught that. They are being taught they

can’t succeed, they’re being taught that they’re not smart enough to navigate. And

just I think to bestow our children, what jewels they are and it starts with

that education system. That’s my goal to give schools within the inner cities

of our country. How close are you guys to building these

inner city private schools?


Chris Webber: I am partnering with a school in Baltimore,

hopefully it can be done by 2010. And the cities that we are starting are in Atlanta, Detroit, Oakland and New York. You

are known for your extensive African-American art collection. What piece are

you most proud of?


Chris Webber: Oh man. Two pieces. Well you’re a writer, so I

guess I’ll say this one first. I have the original copy from Phillis Wheatley,

it was written in the 1700s. She was the first African-American woman to ever

publish a novel. But she’s the second woman ever to publish a novel, and she

got to go in front of John Hancock and actually recite paragraphs from her book,

because they actually didn’t think a Black woman was smart enough to be able to

write the words that she wrote. So that was very unique to me. My other

favorite, I don’t know if you have ever seen the movie Malcolm X? Yes, I’ve seen it.


Chris Webber: Do you remember when Malcolm X was in Mecca

writing a postcard to Alex Haley, who was writing an autobiography? I have one

of those postcards. And on it Malcolm X was writing to Alex Haley, telling him

how much he enjoys the land, and how the food is good, and isn’t it funny how

the monkey on the other side of the postcard playing the drums gets more

respect than the Black man in America.


And it’s funny to me. I mean it’s serious, because a monkey

did get more respect – but it’s just funny that he just put in that way and was

kind of laughing when he wrote it. And to get to show kids Malcolm X’s

signature and the fact that he converses back and forth with Alex Haley. To

know Alex Haley got that is very special. So those two were probably my

favorite two pieces.  When you were talking about showing kids

those your collection, what kind of satisfaction do you get when you show them

this art and get to explain the meaning behind them?


Chris Webber: You know what? It’s one of the best feelings I

have, because when we let the kids know where they’re from and who they are, I

think we expect more of ourselves and we realize that our existence is more

than our uncle or cousin that lives at home that we aren’t that happy about.

But when I show them this, they love it. And also make the point to show them “this

is stuff from Frederick Douglass’ house was burnt down when he died. And do

you know why his house burnt down? Because he taught himself how to read and

was an educator, he was in our government. He was taught by a daughter of a

slave how to read.”


I try to teach these kids that you only have obstacles, we

can do anything we want. And hopefully this African-American exhibit, and

hopefully these schools will teach the kids that there is no limit for what you

should dream about. And I just feel that kids in the inner city are taught not

to dream. But taught like, “I’m not going to make it, let me settle for this”

thinking. We got to re-program those computers in their minds to let them know

they can do anything they want. So you know this is AllHipHop, so we gotta

ask a few music questions.


Chris Webber: No doubt! You have made an album before. Where does

your musical career stand now with rapping or producing?


Chris Webber: I just produce. The album came out a long time

ago, and I never wanted it to come out. That was just stuff I used to do in my

basement with friends when I would produce. I did a song with Kurupt, and I

used to know him and we used to play when he got out of the studio, so I know

people thought I wanted to rap. I love rap, you know. But I just make rap and R&B

beats. I’m happy that Nas and some other artists gave me a chance to put stuff

on their albums. Growing

up in Detroit,

who were you favorite artists?


Chris Webber: The

good thing about Detroit,

we were in the middle. So I listened to everything. I remember when I had

friends in New York that didn’t hear Ice Cube and Too Short’s “Nothing But a

Word to Me.” So from X-Clan to Tribe Called Quest to Rakim to Heavy D. I

thought I was Big Daddy Kane for at least seven years, so I mean I grew up on

all Hip-Hop. I don’t know if you remember The Box, I don’t know how old you

are? You could order like videos for $3. So man, I got many ass whoopings from

my pops from videos.


Like anyone else my age or 35 and older, Doug E. Fresh and “The

Show,” Houdini… all that. Run DMC, Beastie Boys – eighth grade I remember

bumping that. Remember I’m from Detroit,

and all our rappers were local until MC Breed came out. So we had to listen to

everything. And plus, at that time it was just seeing Black people on TV, so to

me it was just the high top fade or the African leather necklaces, the yellow

at the peak at the high top, all that. It’s just the whole style.


It’s funny – when I watch kids doing the Superman and all

that, I was thinking, “I really used to be that

dude.” So yeah, anything within Hip-Hop during that time I used to love. What about now, who are you feeling nowadays?


Chris Webber: I definitely bump Game, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross,

Jeezy, T.I., UGK. But in my car though, it’s probably Jay-Z’s first album and The Black Album, probably three of Nas’

albums, one of Rakim and Run DMC – I listen to everything. So when it comes to Hip-Hop,

I love the new school I bump them so much.


But like, you quit the album when you get tired of it,

because I’d heard the Lil Wayne album so many times that I have to take a week

break from it and I’m gonna listen to all the old stuff and come back to it. I

really love the old school, but the young dudes are taking it to a new level.  What

is the last concert you went to?


Chris Webber: I saw Whispers with Stephanie Mills in

Oakland. Before that it was Jill Scott. And last Hip-Hop concert I was at was

Nas last year. Looking back, you had a marvelous basketball

career. What were your top three moments of your pro and college career?


Chris Webber: Well going to the Final Four my freshman year.

We beat Ohio State, they best us three times that

year and we didn’t even know we were going to make it. My second would be

getting drafted in the NBA. That was a dream and it was so great to be drafted

in Detroit. And right after the draft, I drove straight to a party I was having

for the city. It was great I feel like the city had a really great time.


And third? Wow…I would say just playing against the great

players I played against. From Jordan,

to Bird and those guys on the Dream Team, to Isiah Thomas, to young guys like

LeBron and Kobe.

So just being able to say I played great against the legends to me makes me

proud, so I think those three moments probably the best for me. Last

year you did some studio work with TNT. What was that like?


Chris Webber: Oh it was great. I was just getting my feet

wet, it was fun. Charles Barkley was my role model growing up, and to be able

to work with him and to be friends and have fun on the set was cool. Kenny

Smith is great too, so for me its good I get to stay in basketball. Its fun, I

love it. You seem very comfortable behind a camera.

Has it always been that way or did you develop that skill?


Chris Webber: I kind of developed it in high school. I went

to such a different place so I had to kind of get comfortable with it early. I

usually watch my broadcasts and study them. My boy Jalen [Rose] is on ESPN, so

I watch to see what he’s doing, how he’s doing it. So I definitely want to

learn. I do feel comfortable, but I know I can get better. Jalen’s been doing the media thing for years

now. Do you guys ever give each other pointers?  


Chris Webber: Yeah, definitely. We talked about it earlier.

About two years ago, I told him I thought I was going to retire before I played

with the Pistons, and he told me the same thing, and we just talked about the

things that we’d like to do. We talk sports [and] Hip-Hop all day long, so to

be able to do this is great. Since he’s on ESPN and I’m on TNT now, but hopefully

one day we can come together soon and work together on stuff. You two were Fab Five teammates at Michigan. Any

chance you guys get your other Fab Five teammate Juwan Howard to follow in your

guys’ footsteps?


Chris Webber: You know what, I don’t know. Juwan has always

been the smooth, laid back dude. He’s always been the man behind the scenes,

the battery behind everybody’s back, so I don’t know if Juwan wants to get in

front of a camera or just be producing the show that we’ll have. But Juwan has

a few years left to play, so he outlasted everybody so we’ll have to wait until

he retires. What’s in your future now? What else gets you

excited nowadays?


Chris Webber: Man, just my businesses. I have several companies

I started while I was in the NBA. I told Magic [Johnson] that I’m really trying

to chase his title. So I’m really competitive in this business thing. And

secondly, my charities. I just really want to put that energy out there to our



I’ve been blessed to have good people around me to show me

the way. We can’t control what a child is going to do, but we can show them the

way – show them that they don’t have excuses and they have less obstacles. I

want to concentrate in business and philanthropy and change some lives. Those

are my two goals.