ESPN’s Grantland crew, helmed by E-I-C Bill Simmons, has been counting down the days until the NBA season starts with Simmons and podcast partner, Jalen Rose. While shooting a series of mini-videos previewing each team, Jalen and Bill discussed the fractured friendship between former Michigan “Fab Five” teammates, Rose and Chris Webber.
The Jalen Rose persona can sometimes rub people the wrong way, and his NBA analysis occasionally drifts into a subjective miasma without an ounce of supporting evidence, but he’s Bill Simmons’ guy at ESPN. The two have teamed up to create a different podcast for each NBA team as part of Grantland’s run-up to the NBA season, and it’s fun stuff, if a little grating at times. Webber appears to feel that way, too.
During filming for the segments, the purported beef between Chris Webber and Jalen Rose was discussed and Jalen mentioned their antagonism at his year’s NBA Finals, where Rose joined Bill as part of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” crew. Chris Webber was also at the Finals, and as Jalen says, “This year’s NBA Finals were [sic] the first time we were in the same place at the same time, and he didn’t speak to me.”
That’s when Bill chimes in to say that Webber, “told you to go away.” Jalen wasn’t going to mention that aspect of it, but Simmons was right there and saw the whole thing.
Hopefully, this broken friendship — after the two started hanging out together at the age of 12 – can mend itself over time. The origins of the ruptured relationship can be traced back to the ESPN “30 for 30″ documentary on the Fab Five, executive produced by Simmons and pitched by Rose. Webber initially gave his OK, but when the time came to film a segment for the documentary, Webber was a no-show.
Then there was Rose inviting Webber to join him and his Fab Five teammates at this April’s Final Four where the Michigan Wolverines were back in the title hunt. Webber didn’t appreciate the very public invite, and we’re pretty sure this segment will probably piss him off, too.
What do you think?
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