Back in the early 90s, Chris Webber exploded onto the
sports and Hip-Hop scene as a member of the University of Michigans 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.
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 natives 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
nations 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.
finally hung it up this season. Hows retired life going so far?
Chris Webber: Well you know whats funny, I dont feel
retired yet, because at the end of the basketball season I always have this
time off, so I dont think Ill feel it until October when we usually start
training again. So Im kind of in denial that Im retired, so well see how it
goes, hopefully it will still go well.
AllHipHop.com: With the injury, your last comeback attempt with
Golden State didnt go exactly as planned. Are you comfortable with how it all
Chris Webber: Definitely because I did all I could do. Im
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 – its just
a blessing. You are here to make the most of it thats 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 Im just really happy about that.
AllHipHop.com: 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, Barons 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 hes from the L.A.
area and Im 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 Im sure thats why he did it, but hes one of the best point guards
I ever played with, so Im sure hell make that team better.
AllHipHop.com: Where do the Warriors go from here? If you
were Chris Mullin what would you do to turn around that franchise?
Chris Webber: Thats 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,
hes 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 theyve been talking to Corey Maggette and other people. The J-Rich
trade kind of hurts right now.
So, I dont know, Id 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 wont make it. So I just to a lot of
praying and make sure I get the best player possible if I were Chris Mullin.
AllHipHop.com: Were you surprised Elton Brand didnt 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
hes been on the West Coast a good seven or eight years, Im sure hes get
ready to get back home. Sometimes its just as simple as that. The East is wide
open and hes got a better chance to win in the East than he does in the West.
He can at least make the playoffs.
AllHipHop.com: Tell us a little about the Third Annual Bada
Chris Webber: Its
the third annual like you said. All proceeds benefit my foundation, and my
foundation centers around children and education in tough economic situations.
Weve 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 – hes 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. Its just a weekend for both sides and let
people know that they have a way where they can help our children.
AllHipHop.com: 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
dont 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 its really about who you
know, how hard you work and finding something that you love to do and sticking
with it. Our kids arent really being taught that. They are being taught they
cant succeed, theyre being taught that theyre not smart enough to navigate. And
just I think to bestow our children, what jewels they are and it starts with
that education system. Thats my goal to give schools within the inner cities
of our country.
AllHipHop.com: 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.
are known for your extensive African-American art collection. What piece are
you most proud of?
Chris Webber: Oh man. Two pieces. Well youre a writer, so I
guess Ill 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 shes 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 didnt 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 dont know if you have ever seen the movie Malcolm X?
AllHipHop.com: Yes, Ive 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 isnt 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 its funny to me. I mean its serious, because a monkey
did get more respect – but its 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 Xs
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.
AllHipHop.com: 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? Its one of the best feelings I
have, because when we let the kids know where theyre 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 arent 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, Im 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.
AllHipHop.com: So you know this is AllHipHop, so we gotta
ask a few music questions.
Chris Webber: No doubt!
AllHipHop.com: 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. Im happy that Nas and some other artists gave me a chance to put stuff
on their albums.
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 didnt hear Ice Cube and Too Shorts 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 dont know if you remember The Box, I dont 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 Im 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. Its just the whole style.
Its 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.
AllHipHop.com: 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, its probably Jay-Zs 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 Id heard the Lil Wayne album so many times that I have to take a week
break from it and Im 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.
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.
AllHipHop.com: 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 didnt 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.
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
AllHipHop.com: 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 hes doing, how hes doing it. So I definitely want to
learn. I do feel comfortable, but I know I can get better.
AllHipHop.com: Jalens 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 wed like to do. We talk sports [and] Hip-Hop all day long, so to
be able to do this is great. Since hes on ESPN and Im on TNT now, but hopefully
one day we can come together soon and work together on stuff.
AllHipHop.com: You two were Fab Five teammates at Michigan. Any
chance you guys get your other Fab Five teammate Juwan Howard to follow in your
Chris Webber: You know what, I dont know. Juwan has always
been the smooth, laid back dude. Hes always been the man behind the scenes,
the battery behind everybodys back, so I dont know if Juwan wants to get in
front of a camera or just be producing the show that well have. But Juwan has
a few years left to play, so he outlasted everybody so well have to wait until
AllHipHop.com: Whats in your future now? What else gets you
Chris Webber: Man, just my businesses. I have several companies
I started while I was in the NBA. I told Magic [Johnson] that Im really trying
to chase his title. So Im really competitive in this business thing. And
secondly, my charities. I just really want to put that energy out there to our
Ive been blessed to have good people around me to show me
the way. We cant control what a child is going to do, but we can show them the
way – show them that they dont have excuses and they have less obstacles. I
want to concentrate in business and philanthropy and change some lives. Those
are my two goals.