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Wednesday, April 2, 2008 - The Michigan Daily
THE EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK with GABE NELSON
A look at the big news events this week and how important they really are. Conveniently rated from one to 10.
A FUTURE ON WALL STREET
Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president often
accosed of corruption and election-rigging,
seems close to steeping dow nas returns from the
country's recent elections indicate he will lose the
4 contest. Since Mugabe took power in 1980, the
country's inflation rate has skyrocketed to an unreal
100,000 percent, the highest in the world, while
80 percent of its people are unemployed. Why
would Mugabe want to run Zimbabwe, anyway?
He'd have a bright future at Bear Stearns.
A TORCH, BUT NO PITCHFORKS
Aithough China has com under tire in recent
months as this summer's Beijing Olympics nears,
an Olympic torch-lighting ceremony took place in
Tiananmen Square Monday without any protests.
7 Considering the location's past as a site of political
resistance, the lack of protests at the invitation-
only event shows how popular the Chinese
Communist Party is. Think about it - if citizens
thought the government was brutally suppressing
free speech, wouldn't they speak out about it?
HIGH PRICES, HIGH PROFITS
At a Congressional hearing yesterday, representatives
of the five largest oil companies in the United States
said their companies weren't to blame for high
gas prices and tried tojustify why the companies
received huge tax breaks ina year when they made
a record $123 billion in profits. The executives tried
to reassure Congress that they're feeling the pain of
high oil prices, too. After all, it takes a lot of expensive
jet fuel to fly a private plane to the Caribbean.
SKATE TO THE TOP
This weekend, the top-ranked Michigan hockey team
won two games in Albany, N.Y. to make it to the Frozen
Four for the first time in five years. The Wolverines
are headed to Denver next week to make a run at the
National Championship. Unfortunately for students,
the games are scheduled for the weekend before
the start of finals. Fortunately for student-athletes,
they're mostly taking independent studies, anyway.
An article in yesterday's edition of The Michigan
Review painted an unkind picture of Justin Zatkoff,
the chair of The Michigan Federation of College
Republicans, suggesting that he may have violated
state campaign finance laws by starting an organiza-
tions that paid for students to attend a prominent
tepublican leadership conference if they pledged
to vote for John McCain in an influential poll held
there. That's one way to show support for McCain,
considering he helped craft the campaign finance
reforms that made many practices like those illegal
in the first place.
"I thought it did divide the
Michigan fan base a little bit, but
the shear joy they played with ulti-
mately overshadowed it," said Bob
Wojnowski, a Detroit News colum-
nist. "I used to hear from Michigan
basketball fans all time, 'This is
The Old Blues preferred to see
the selfless Michigan Men who put
the team first. These fans didn't
appreciate it when the Fab Five
stomped on the Spartan logo after
winning in East Lansing.
Despite this resentmentthe style
is still popular in college basketball
- and even more popular in pick-up
"That's what you see today,"
In their freshman year, the Fab
Five had two coming-out parties.
The first, a nationally televised
overtime loss to Duke in Decem-
ber, marked the first time the entire
country saw this flamboyant fresh-
Webber scored 27 points in a per-
formance Parker described at the
time as "the stuff legends are made
It was a game of contrasts: the
brash Wolverines against the by-
the-book Blue Devils.
For the college basketball world,
the Duke game might have been the
group's introduction, but not for the
Fab Five themselves.
In their minds, they didn't offi-
cially make it until coach Steve
Fisher finally put all of them in the
Fisher at first played the balanc-
ing act of using his most talented
players while not isolating the rest
of the team but finally relented in
a February game against Notre
The Fab Five started each game
from then on, but it wasn't until
the NCAA Tournament when the
"shock the world" mentality took
It was only fitting that, on the
night before their first NCAA Tour-
nament game, the Fab Five met the
king of that mindset, Muhammad
Ali, in their Atlanta hotel.
Ali used this attitude to get inside
his opponent's head and to motivate
himself for fights. The Fab Five fol-
Forthe nextmonth, thatwas their
motto as they made an improbable
run as a No. 6 seed all the way to the
finals. Along the way, their attitude
rubbed some the wrong way.
"They beat Temple (in the first
round), and (Temple coach) John
Chaney really went off on them,"
Wojnowski said. "He thought they
were doing a disservice to college
basketball and to young black ath-
letes. He reallytook them to task."
Just as shenanigans got to Ali's
opponents, the same thing worked
for the Fab Five until the finals.
It was a rematch with the Blue
Devils. With less than five minutes
remaining, the Wolverines had the
lead, but a call went against them.
They couldn't recover and eventu-
ally lost by 20.
CHANGING THE GAME
The Fab Five revolutionized col-
They redefined the fashion. The
Fab Five popularized the baggy
shorts sported by players from the
IM Building to the NBA.
Before the Fab Five, basketball
players wore shorts so short they
would probably violate the dress
code at most high schools. To feel
more comfortable in their up-and-
down, free-flowing brand of bas-
ketball, the Fab Five asked Fisher
to add a few inches of fabric to the
"At the time, coach Fisher said
that if we win games, he'll do
whatever we wanted," King said.
"So, that was the condition."
And they fulfilled their side of
the bargain. In their freshman
season, the Fab Five jumped out
to a 10-1 start and No. 11 in the
Soon, they became cultural
"There was nothing cooler
than the gold shorts with the 'M'
emblem on them," said ESPN ana-
lyst Doug Gottlieb, who was playing
high school basketball in Tustin,
Calif., at the time. "Who didn't have
College basketball traditionalists
didn't share Gottlieb's enthusiasm.
"I personally think there should
be a rule about the length of shorts
with that," said Jim Stupin, who has
been a college basketball referee for
more than 30 years. "It is what it
is. That's what the kids wear with
the baggy pants. But I'm a dinosaur
about all of that stuff."
The shorts were just the begin-
At the beginning of their fresh-
man year, the Fab Five talked about
other ways they could distinguish
themselves. It came up that Jack-
son had worn black shoes and black
socks during high school.
That look debuted in their first
matchup against Duke.
Even something as innocent as
different colored socks drew intense
resentment. Duderstadt recalls the
time when university president
whose team had lost to Michigan
called him to say he was offended
by the Wolverine's sock color.
Looking at the knee-covering
shorts worn in nearly every bas-
ketball game today - pick-up to
professional - it's clear which side
ENDING ON HEARTBREAK
For many college basketball fans,
one moment - a singular ill-con-
sidered action - will be the lasting
image of the Fab Five.
Trailing by two with 15 sec-
onds remaining in the 1993 NCAA
Championship game, Webber
It's almost as if he's given up on trying to turn around
his poor approval rating. On Sunday night, President
Bush threw the opening pitch at the Washington
Nationals' season opener, also the first game played
in the team's new stadium. Bush then proceeded to
head up to the press box and announce much of the
game alongside the broadcasting crew. As Bush has
always said, being president is hard work. He would
have settled for calling the plays on Opening Day.
rebounded a missed North Caroli-
na free throw. As he turned to take
the ball upcourt, he first thought
of giving an outlet pass to his point
guard, Rose. But Webber pulled
the ball back and dragged his pivot
foot. The referees overlooked the
obvious travel, and Webber con-
tinued across midcourt, dribbling
the ball into the corner in front of
the Michigan bench. Two North
Carolina defenders converged on
him with a trap, and that's when it
He picked up the ball and put his
hands perpendicular to each other
- the timeout signal.
The only problem was Webber
didn't have any timeouts to take.
"I guess he just panicked," said
Stupin, who was the trailing referee
on the play. "He thought he was
going to get trapped and called the
timeout. It was kind of totally unex-
pected because everybody knew
they didn't have any timeouts."
And with that, the Fab Five's
hopes of winning a championship
ended. They never captured a Big
Ten title either.
But even if Webber hadn't called
the timeout, North Carolina prob-
ably would not have allowed Michi-
gan to get a shot off.
"What I think a lot of people
don't remember is that North Car-
olina had one or two fouls to give
before Michigan was in the bonus,"
Had Webber not called the time-
out and North Carolina not fouled
to prevent Michigan from shoot-
ing, the Wolverines still would have
needed to score on atough Tar Heel
People who say Webber lost the
game for Michigan overlook all
If Webber had been in that
same situation a year earlier,
the play might have continued.
The NCAA had started putting
emphasis on calling the exces-
sive timeout technical foul
instead of simply ignoring it.
"That year, it came into being
that officials were not to ignore
the timeout," said Hightower,
who refereed that game.
While most in college basket-
ball believe the Fab Five were
years ahead of their time, they
were - in one way at least - a
Unlike many athletes who
choose not to talk after game-
changing gaffes, Webber faced
the media after that game. He
blamed himself for the loss,
almost in tears as he answered
questions from the media. How-
ard, next to him in the press
conference, tried to comfort his
See LEGACY, Page 8B
Managng Edtr: GabeNelson
Junk Drawe: BrianTesl
Coer ,photo PeerSchottenfels
PERSON OF THE WEEK
Jean Nouvel, France's premier shock-architect, won the prestigious
Pritzker prize last week for a lifetime of spotting the globe with metal-
lic mind fucks. Sometimes he's on, sometimes he's off. But one thing's
certain, if he's able to build the skyscraper he plans for Manhattan,
personal jet packs are not too far behind.
J Affordable Housing?
Month-to-Month S/S Contracts
4 & 8-Month F/W Contracts
Friendly People and Great Food
ICC Student Co-op Housing Mass
Wednesday April 2.
Michigan Union Wolverine Room
Join us afterwards for a FREE homemade
dinner at one of our co-op houses!