Mayce Edward Christopher Webber, III
March 1, 1973 in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Country Day (Detroit)
University of Michigan (1991-1993)
Orlando Magic, 1st Overall, 1993 NBA Draft
6-10 ; Weight
G - 831
FG% - .479
3PFG% - .299
FT% - .650
Points - 17,182
PPG - 20.7
Rebounds - 8,124
RPG - 9.8
Assists - 3,526
APG - 4.2
Blocks - 1,200
BPG - 1.4
Steals - 1,197
SPG - 1.4
5 x NBA All-Star, NBA Rookie of the Year, 1993 NBA All-Rookie First Team, 1 x All NBA First Team, 3 x All NBA Second Team, 1 x All NBA Third Team, 1991 McDonald's All-American, 1992-1993 NCAA AP All-America First Team.
High School and College
Webber attended Detroit Country Day School and at the time was the most recruited Michigan high school basketball player since Magic Johnson. Webber led Country Day to three MHSAA State championships. As a senior in high school Webber averaged 29.4 points and 13 rebounds per game. He was named Michigan's Mr. Basketball and the 1990–1991 National High School player of the year. He was named MVP in both the McDonald's and Dapper Dan All-Star games.
After graduating from Detroit Country Day School, Webber attended the University of Michigan for two years. While a Michigan Wolverine, Webber led the group of players known as the Fab Five, which included himself, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. This group, all of whom entered Michigan as freshmen in the fall of 1991, took the basketball team to the NCAA finals twice, losing both times. The Fab Five, sporting long, baggy shorts and black socks, became immensely popular as they were seen as bringing a hip hop flavor to the game. Four of the Fab Five (Webber, Rose, Howard, and King) made it to the NBA.
On April 5, 1993, at Michigan's second consecutive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game, Webber called a time-out with 11 seconds left in the game when his team, down 73–71, did not have any remaining, resulting in a technical foul that effectively clinched the game for North Carolina. The game marked the end of Webber's acclaimed two year collegiate basketball career. In his second season, he was a first team All-American selection and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year. These awards and honors have been vacated due to University of Michigan and NCAA sanctions related to the University of Michigan basketball scandal. In that scandal, Webber received over $200,000 from a local bookmaker while playing basketball for Michigan. Webber was convicted of perjury and banned from any affiliation with the Michigan program until 2013.
Webber was selected by the Orlando Magic with the first pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, becoming the first sophomore since Magic Johnson to be a #1 overall draft pick. The Magic immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Anfernee Hardaway and three future first round draft picks.
Webber had an outstanding first year, averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was instrumental in leading the Warriors back into the playoffs. However, he had a long-standing conflict with his coach, Don Nelson. Nelson wanted to make Webber primarily a post player, despite Webber's superb passing ability and good ball handling skills for someone his size at 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall. Webber also disliked playing a substantial amount of time at center, given Nelson's propensity towards smaller, faster line ups. In the 1994 off-season, the Warriors acquired Rony Seikaly so that Webber could play primarily at power forward. However, at the time, the differences between Webber and Nelson were considered to be irreconcilable. Webber exercised a one-year escape clause in his contract, stating he had no intentions of returning to the Warriors. With few alternatives, Golden State agreed to a sign and trade deal, sending Webber to the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) for forward Tom Gugliotta and three first round draft picks.
Webber was traded in his second year to the Washington Bullets, where he was reunited with his college teammate and friend, Juwan Howard. He spent the next three years with the Bullets (later renamed the Washington Wizards), although in the 1995–96 season injuries limited him to only 15 games. Webber rebounded the following year and was named to his first All-Star team in 1997. The same season, Webber led the Bullets into the playoffs for the first time in nine years, but they were swept by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. By 1998, Webber had established himself as a great power forward, but his time in Washington had also worn out.
On May 14, 1998, Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe. Webber originally did not want to go to Sacramento, as they were a perennially losing team.
When Webber arrived, the Kings also signed small forward Peja Stojakovic, center Vlade Divac and drafted point guard Jason Williams. In his first year with the Kings (the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season), Webber won the rebounding title averaging a league high 13.0 rebounds per game. The surprising Kings team made the playoffs, almost upsetting the veteran Utah Jazz. In years to come, Webber and the Kings became arguably the most exciting team in the league, and NBA title contenders. He was named to the All-Star team again in 2000 and 2001 while cementing his status as one of the premier power forwards in the NBA. Webber peaked in the 2000–01 season where he averaged a career-high 27.1 points. He also averaged 11.1 rebounds and was 4th in MVP voting. Webber was an All-NBA player five years in a row as a Sacramento King (1999–2003), making the 1st team in 2001 for the only time in his career.
On July 27, 2001, Webber signed a $127 million, seven-year contract with the Kings. In the 2001–02 NBA season, Webber played in 54 games and helped lead the Kings to a Pacific division title and a franchise record 61–21 season. He also made his fourth All-Star team and the All-NBA Second Team. The Kings reached the Western Conference Finals, against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings led the series 3–2 but eventually lost in 7 games.
The next season, Webber put up another superb year, averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds per game. He was cited as a possible MVP candidate, and made his fifth consecutive All-Star team. In a bad sign of what was to come, Webber missed the All Star game with an injured knee. Nevertheless, he returned and the Kings were among the favorites to win the NBA Championship.
In the second game of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks, Webber suffered a career-threatening knee injury while running down the lane untouched that forced him to miss nearly a year of action. After micro-fracture surgery, he returned for the final 23 games of the 2003–04 season, but his athleticism, agility, and mobility were never the same.
In February 2005, Webber, along with Michael Bradley and Matt Barnes, were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for power forward Kenny Thomas, forward/center Brian Skinner, and former King Corliss Williamson. Webber took some time to fit in with the 76ers offense, where he was the second scoring option, behind Allen Iverson. He eventually helped catapult the Sixers to a berth in the 2005 playoffs, where the Sixers lost to the Detroit Pistons. However, they did not reach the playoffs in 2006, despite Webber putting up a resurgent 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Because of the microfracture surgery on his knee, Webber lost his lateral quickness and jumping ability. While he still possessed offensive skills, he was seen as a defensive liability and was usually benched for the 4th quarters. This caused Webber to reportedly call for a trade.
During the 2006–07 season Webber only played 18 of 35 games for the Sixers leading the media to question his motivation. On January 11, 2007 Sixers GM Billy King announced that the Sixers and Webber had agreed to a reported $25 million contract buyout on the remaining two years left on his contract, in effect paying him not to play. Later that day, the Sixers waived Webber, making him a free agent.
On January 16, 2007, Webber signed with the Detroit Pistons. He has stated throughout his career that he always wanted to play for his hometown team. His usual number 4 had been retired in honor of Joe Dumars, so Webber donned the number 84, because his nephew had a dream of him making a buzzer beater with that number on. The Pistons were a much improved basketball team after Webber's acquisition, improving their record in the Eastern Conference and solidifying the first seed in the East. However, the Eastern Conference favourites failed to advance to the finals after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, leaving Webber short of an NBA Finals appearance yet again. Indeed, Webber performed well in the 2007 NBA Playoffs despite receiving limited minutes. Webber still managed to average 10 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs and shot an impressive 52.4% from the field. His efforts were highlighted by a game 5 performance in the Eastern Conference Finals in which Webber scored 20 points (including 5 points in the double overtime period) on 9 of 13 shooting and grabbed 7 boards. Nevertheless, Detroit still lost what turned out to be the key game in the series in double overtime and Webber ended up averaging a career low 11.2 PPG in his run with the Pistons. During the off season, Detroit did not resign Webber. Despite receiving lucrative proposals from teams in Europe, he was in free agency at the beginning of the regular season.
On January 29, 2008, the Golden State Warriors signed Webber for the rest of the season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he would receive the pro-rated veteran's minimum of $1.2 million (approximately $570,000). This comes after a rejected offer by the Los Angeles Lakers who were trying to coax Webber in with two 10-day contracts so they could decide afterwards if they wanted him the rest of the season. This has also put to rest talks of joining the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, or retirement. He played in only nine games for the Warriors, averaging 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game.
On March 25, 2008, Webber officially retired from basketball due to persistent problems with his surgically repaired knee and was waived by the Warriors. On March 27, 2008, Webber made his first appearance on television on Inside the NBA on TNT, alongside Charles Barkley and host Ernie Johnson. On April 25, 2008, TNT offered Webber a job to be a commentator for the post season.
Webber averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for his career (one of only six players to do so). He was ranked #64 in SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003. He was ranked #72 on a list of the Top 96 NBA Players of all time in the bestseller The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy published in 2009, and #11 in an ESPN.com experts poll of the top power forwards of all time in 2008.
The Sacramento Kings retired Webber's number 4 jersey
on February 6, 2009 when the Kings hosted the Utah Jazz.