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Chris Webber on how the ‘timeout game’ both did and did not define him

Class of 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Announcement

SPRINGFIELD, MA - MAY 16: Chris Webber poses for a photo during the opening of the newly renovated Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 16, 2021 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Chris Webber’s resume of basketball accomplishments is long — Hall of Fame long. He was a member of the Fab 5 that changed college basketball and influenced a generation. In the NBA, he was a five-time All-NBA player, Rookie of the Year, five-time All-Star, and much more.

However, think of Chris Webber and the first thing that pops to mind is the timeout game. The 1993 NCAA national championship game, when Michigan was down two, was out of timeouts, and Webber called a timeout, essentially ending the game.

Webber says if you watch one game of his, it should be that one — but not for the reason you think.

Webber sat down with Myron Medcalf of ESPN and gave these thoughtful comments about the timeout game.

You know, if there’s ever any game that I want anybody to watch that I play, it would be the timeout game. Someone asked me about my son, ‘If your son could watch any basketball games you played in ...’ I said ‘The timeout game.’ He said ‘Why?’ I said because he knows Daddy was cold to get up after that game and to continue doing what he does. So in other words, we know you’re going to be good. We know you’re going to do this, but what do you do after that moment? And that’s what I’m so proud of...

So the whole thing for me was after you rest, after you cry, we are going to get up and never look back. And that was my motivation. And it’s almost like when the worst thing that happens, happens, and you get through it, you almost saw yourself a little bit more like, OK, I can make it. Let’s be fearless.

Webber said it was coming out of that moment — with the support and love of his mother — that inspired him to form his foundation.

So how inspiring that timeout was for me to help other people, because I have more money or I have more of this. ... I can say no I’ve been as hurt as you and I’m telling you that you can make it through. You can get through it. Don’t, don’t ... do not not stay focused right now. Don’t do something stupid. Don’t get lazy mentally right now and get off track.

And so to me, that’s where the people in my life, family, friends, especially young men -- I’ve been able to hold them accountable through that story. I thank God for that part of my life. And I need people to understand it because it gives me a substance that I don’t know if I would have had without it.

It ultimately was a basketball game, all of us — including Webber — will face more consequential tragedies in our lives. But sports is always a mirror held up to people and society, and when faced with the worst moment of his basketball career, Webber responded with an impressive, Hall of Fame worthy NBA career, plus he responded off the court becoming a person more dedicated to others and service.

That is a Hall of Fame response to tragedy.