The Fab Five

There was never any doubt that I would watch this documentary. It was just a matter of when. I have some strange TV watching habits. I mostly watch live sports, never recorded. If I miss it, I miss it, oh well. Same with news/info shows like 60 Minutes. In contrast, I never watch TV shows on their first run, I time-shift everything, often for years (just finished season 1 of The Wire).

Now sports documentaries – those are different beasts. I can’t really generalize my watching of those. I’m guessing that I usually time-shift, but I happened to pop this on for it’s first run Sunday night the 13th. I think I had the TV on because I was sorting through the NCAA tourney selection. In retrospect, I’m very thankful that I hung with this thing on opening night because it made the ensuing conversation and controversy it prompted that much more fruitful for me.

Here I sit, Saturday of the tournament (post date though is viewing date), and this thing has played out rather beautifully.

Most of the controversy stemmed from Jalen Rose’s labeling of Grant Hill and Duke players as “Uncle Toms.” That sparked an immediate backlash, which didn’t subside as the week went on. An especially scathing take was written by Jason Whitlock in an article for Fox Sports entitled Fab Five Film Fantasy, Not Documentary. Whitlock denounces Rose’s view that the Fab Five were revolutionary, instead branding the Georgetown teams of the early 80s (coach Thompson, player Ewing) as the true revolutionaries.

A whole cast of characters added to milieu of analysis and critique. Grant Hill chimed in with this response, portions of which were published in the NYT. A third party, Michael Wilbon, stepped in with some thoughtful moderation in this article entitled What Grant Hill, Jalen Rose Share. The Twitterverse was abuzz for days and now, on Sunday at around lunchtime, the rematch between Michigan and Duke will happen when they meet in the West region third round. How poetic is that?

Really poetic, in my estimation. I’ve lost touch with the game of basketball over the last 20 years. Before that, I was a certified hoops junkie. But lately, I’ve reacquainted myself with the game and I’m especially interested in both the NBA season and the NCAA Tournament. It could be that Derrick Rose and the success of the Irish are so compelling that I just had to jump on the bandwagon. But I’d like to think it’s deeper than that. I’d like to think that this decades-long hoop latency finally just bubbled to the surface because it was time. It was just supposed to happen and would have done so regardless of the externalities.