Remembering the Fab Five

Everywhere you look every basketball player is wearing shorts that cover the ankles. It wasn’t always like that. Players used to wear high socks, converse shoes, and short shorts that exposed more than we are used to seeing on the court in today’s game. In 1991 the game of basketball changed forever and this is when we saw brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok really start to shine; leaving Converse on the back burner.

It’s been a trend for many years, but do you ever wonder where it originated from?

It all started with the Michigan Fab 5. The University of Michigan acquired five iconic and talented freshman to jump start the 1991 NCAA season. In the 90’s players would be seen with high shorts that barely reached below one’s thigh. Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Juwan Hoard, and Ray Jackson set out to change the game forever. 

Michigan kept breaking headline after headline that season, ranking them top five in the country. They revolutionized the game with their play styles and flashiness as they attacked the rim and their celebrations when they drained a jump shot from 30 feet. 

They started wearing their shorts below the knees and rocked the slick black nike socks. The best part about this whole controversy was that Michigan was winning game after game; making the trend world wide.  When you think of Fab 5 the term ‘Swag’ comes to mind due to the attire worn by these five. 

One of the greatest recruiting classes to ever take the court; these five young studs went against the norm and brought the ‘streets’ to organized basketball. I can remember a reporter referring to that term, but it didn’t resonate with many people. The Fab Five modernized the game of basketball from a ametuer level and the trend is implemented in everyday society in the sport. Later that season the NBA made rule changes and eliminated the reign of high shorts forever.

In today’s game, the NBA is more flashier than ever, but it would never of gotten this way if it wasn’t for the 1991 Michigan Wolverines. They changed the image of the game without winning an NCAA championship.




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