When Chris Webber stepped on the scene as a freshman at Michigan, he was the first player of his kind. He was Kevin Garnett before Kevin Garnett. Webber was able to score in various ways, jumped out of the building, protected the rim, had handles and passed like a guard. He and the Wolverines took the country by storm with their aggressive style of play, bald heads, baggy uniforms, black socks, and dope taste in sneakers. Scandal aside, no one can take away what the Fab Five did for the game of basketball and if it weren't for the injuries we might be talking to the greatest power forward to ever do it. Now he's commentating for Turner Sports, is working on a book and a documentary, and still producing rap beats.
Burger King sent us down to kick it with CWebb at Bracket Town this past weekend in Dallas. We talked Huaraches vs. Barkleys, producing beats, and Fab Five.
Interview by Angel Diaz (@ADiaz456)
First of all, I grew up a Carolina fan but you were my favorite player. I cried after that timeout. I was so torn.
[Laughs.] I cried with you, man. That's tough.
Huaraches or Barkleys?
Wow! That's one of the toughest questions I've ever been asked. I don't wanna answer that one, man [Laughs.] Barkleys. The ones with the strap on the toe. We won with those.
They were built for big 6'10' cats like you.
Yeah, you're right. I loved those. We wore the Barkleys before the Huaraches, so yeah, Imma go with those.
The other day I was working out and I seen this lady who wasn't from America that had on black sneakers and socks, and she knew who I was. We couldn't communicate through words, but we still had a moment because of the Fab Five.
Do you still wear black socks?
All the time. I'm wearing some right now.
Can you believe the Fab Five are still as influential as they are?
No, I can't believe it. When we were doing it we were doing it from our heart and soul. Nowadays people know how to premeditate their moves whether it be on Twitter or whatever, we didn't know how to do that. It's still a blessing to see our influential still. The other day I was working out and I seen this lady who wasn't from America that had on black sneakers and socks, and she knew who I was. We couldn't communicate through words, but we still had a moment because of the Fab Five. It was crazy. I can't believe that we still have that impact.
Did you guys realize what you were doing at the time in terms of your style on the court?
Not at all. We just knew the hood in Detroit like it [Laughs.] I thought my hood liked it and that was enough. But when we went out to different places, never.
What was the point you guys were trying to make?
Well, the reason why I liked long shorts was because growing up we didn't have money to buy shorts. So we always had hand me downs that didn't fit us or we made jean shorts. Then when we got to college, coach asked us what we wanted because we worked hard. So Jordan's shorts were long, Illinois' shorts were long, and UNLV had long shorts, so we said we wanted that. We were just trying to our own thing when we added the black socks and black sneakers.
UNLV influenced you guys too because you had some Detroit cats on that team.
Yeah, and Larry Johnson too. We wanted to emulate them and add our own style to it.
Who's the best dresser on Turner Sports not named Craig Sager?
Oh, I have to say myself [Laughs.]
You guys still make fun of the pants Tracy McGrady wore that day?
You know what? Yeah, yeah [Laughs.] We killed Tracy for that. He's playing baseball now so I haven't seen him. That used to be the style though but those were crazy.
Julius Randle was the last one standing between him, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker. Why do you think he was overlooked?
I'm really not sure. I think a lot of us commentators don't really know what we're talking about, honestly, especially when it comes to scouting. When I hear Tom Izzo say that Randle was a beast, that's all I needed to hear. He probably feels like he's better because he made it to the championship game.
Do you think he should leave for the NBA?
I think all players should do what they want to do. I do think that some guys should stay another year or two so they can learn more about the game. You look at all the players that have come out like the John Walls or whatever; it's taken them a couple years to develop. The year before I came out, Shaq was the No. 1 pick. There's not a player like that in the draft this year. Or even a Christian Laettner type. There's such a big gap between college and the pros that you don't want to wait 4-5 years to get your run.
Randle has the strength and the body to come out, but his game isn't as polished yet.
But I will say that a summer with a good coach can help a guy a lot, so I don't want to pass judgement too quickly. I just guys are ready if they choose to leave because history says that they're gonna sit on the bench for a couple years.
You still making beats, when are you and Nas going to work together again?
We actually have something in the works for the soundtrack of my documentary coming out sometime next year.
What's the documentary about?
Everything that everyone has said about me [Laughs.]
Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature taught me how to make beats. I love him forever, that's my boy.
Have you been keeping up with hip-hop lately? Who are you listening to right now?
Always. First of all, I listen to a lot of the old stuff. I was just listening to Brand Nubian's "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down." I was listening to Black Moon in the shower [Laughs.] I've been listening to College Dropout and Graduation too. But as far as right now, I like Jon Connor. I like Kendrick. I'm an album guy. I have to listen to a consistent body of work before I really start feeling someone.
Do you listen to Drake? He's been working with the Raptors, have you guys talked basketball?
Yeah, I mess with him. I've seen him out a few times and he wore my Michigan jersey one time. That was a lot of love.
What do you use to produce your beats?
I used to use QBass back in the day. I have a couple MPCs. Lately I've been using Logic. But mostly off Pro Tools, I have a studio in the house.
Who taught you how to make beats?
[Laughs.] You're getting all the stuff for my book, man. Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature taught me how to make beats. I love him forever, that's my boy. In the summers I used to be in his house with Zhane, Next, with a bunch of them before they even came out. He would just teach me how to make beats.
What's your involvement with Burger King?
Really having a good time with them celebrating the new Big King and they're going to be helping with some of my philanthropy work. I'm really excited about our relationship and hopefully we can help the communities that have helped me.