ATLANTA — Former five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber showed up at the Georgia Dome just about the time Michigan’s starting lineup was being introduced before the Wolverines squared off against Louisville in Monday’s night’s national championship game.
CBS-TV showed Webber arriving at the Georgia Dome and exiting his car minutes before the game. He was wearing a UM hat.
Webber played on Michigan’s 1992 and 1993 Final Four teams but a federal investigation revealed that a booster gave Webber and three non-Fab Five players more than $600,000 while they were student-athletes. The NCAA forced the school to dissociate from them until this year. The dissociation officially ends in May.
WARE CHEERS: Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware followed his same pregame routine as in the Cardinals’ semifinal win over Wichita State.
Ware, on crutches after having surgery to repair his broken right leg, again was cheered when he took his seat by the Louisville bench. Wearing his white No. 5 jersey, Ware sat beside the elevated court, facing the action, where he could prop up his injured leg on another chair. He stood at the end of Saturday’s semifinal win over Wichita State and even shocked his teammates by joining a late-game huddle.
His teammates again wore T-shirts over their jerseys in pregame warmu-ps with the words “Ri5e to the Occasion.” A fan raised a sign which read “Rise for 5.”
Ware played at Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES: There were plenty of signs popping up all around the Georgia Dome for the national championship. Some of them witty. Some of them cruel. Most of them funny.
One sign helped up by a Michigan fan featured a picture of Glenn Robinson III, whose father was a star player at Purdue. It was accompanied by the words, “Daddy never did that!” – as in, the “Big Dog” never played for a national championship with the Boilermakers.
A few sections over, a Louisville fan held up a similar looking sign – it was on yellow cardstock, too – with a picture of Webber. But the words pasted onto it carried a much different tone: “Timeouts left: -1.”
Don’t get the joke? Ask a Michigan fan.