Chris Webber helped the Pistons reach the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, but he, like his Fab Five teammates never won a championship. That Pistons connection is all I have to segue to this fantastic piece by Barry Petchesky of Deadspin on Juwan Howard’s quest to end the Fab Five’s title drought:
"I don’t mind getting overshadowed by Chris and Jalen," Howard told USA Today in 1993, and expressed the same sentiment with different names throughout his career. That quote finished with "What’s important to me is winning," which sounds empty considering his teams very rarely won.
There was a moment, in the summer of 1996, when it all could have gone differently. Howard was 23, coming off a do-everything season for an injury-ravaged Bullets team—22.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists—and he was a free agent, a David Falk client, like Michael Jordan. He signed a seven-year, $100 million contract to join the Miami Heat, teaming up with Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway to make an original Big Three, a team that could have been unstoppable post-Jordan. He would have been the quiet member of the trio, doing the dirty work for the two superstars. Like Chris Bosh, or like Michigan’s Juwan Howard.
That deal was tossed out due to a salary cap violation. Howard re-signed with the Bullets. An infuriated Pat Riley made sure not to make the same mistake 14 years later, with his next superteam.
What unfolded from there was the career of a journeyman.
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