Sunday, November 06, 2005


Detroit School Honors Chris Webber

Teaching kids the value of perseverance in the face of 'challenges'

NBA player Chris Webber, who starred at Detroit Country Day from 1987-91, became the first player in school history to have his jersey number retired:
(Webber) was honored Wednesday with speeches by (Country Day coach Kurt) Keener, who called him "a diamond I just had to polish"; Country Day headmaster Gerald Hansen, his former advisor, Mary Ann DeVogel; and Pistons president Joe Dumars, all of whom talked about his basketball prowess and charitable efforts off the court.
Via Debbie Schlussel, who summarizes some of Webber's other off court activities:
In 2003, Webber (then with the Sacramento Kings)--arrested on various drug and alleged rape charges over the years, but each time, escaping with the skin of his teeth--was indicted for lying to a grand jury about illegal loans he took from a shady booster. He pled guilty to a lesser charge when the key witness died suddenly--and the U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey Collins, pressured prosecutors to give Webber a deal (Collins was friends with the Webber family and sat on the board of Webber's CWebb Foundation).

Webber was traded to the Kings in the first place because of frequent off-court arrests while a Washington Wizard. One of those, during a 1998 Maryland traffic stop, involved Webber fleeing police, slapping a police officer, refusing to show his driver's license, and lacking a license plate. In fact, Webber's Lincoln Navigator had devices to quickly obscure the license plate and was equipped with secret compartments to hide the drugs that were found therein.

Like all suspects caught red-handed, Webber claimed the drugs were left there by a friend. That excuse didn't work earlier that year when he was fined $500 when marijuana was found in his carry-on bag at an airport in Puerto Rico. Despite all that, he had the gall to sue Fila for dropping him as an endorser pursuant to a morals clause.
Schlussel gets it right when she calls "retiring his jersey a disgrace, not cause for celebration."

Webber, of course, sees things differently:
"You just have to fight through those situations and do the best you can, and that's why this is so special -- it's a reward of your perseverance," he said. "Not even to put it behind you, but to face each challenge and keep standing. A lot of people can't do that. To face every challenge I've faced, to still have your pride and dignity and have people who love you."
Yikes. What a lesson to teach young kids.


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