"What scares you Jalen? Death, said Jalen,... because I can't imagine a world without me in it." The cockiness that was the Fab Five is captured perfectly by Mitch Albom in his book the Fab Five; Basketball, Trash Talk and the American Dream. Like Albom's other books Tuesdays with Morrie and 5 People You Meet in Heaven, his story telling engulfs the reader and transforms a normal story into a legendary tale. Albom recognizes the important interaction between people in their actions and conversations and captures that in his writing. This story, the Fab Five, was a great book and one of the best for any sports fan. The "Greatest Class Ever Recruited", as Albom called them, is a great story that is told from behind the scenes, during the Fab Five's historic career at the University of Michigan. The Fab Five by Albom is the finest sports book because Albom's humorous and stylish writing brings to life the events surrounding five freshmen that transformed college basketball.
The Fab Five is a book about Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, the fabulous five freshmen at the University of Michigan. A group assembled in many different ways, each contributing a unique story to what brought them to Ann Arbor. Albom takes his first few chapters describing the intricate lines that connected each player to Ann Arbor. Jalen and Chris were from Detroit and went to UofM because they were always best friends. Ray Jackson and Jimmy King are from Texas. Ray Jackson was noticed accidentally while scouts were in Texas recruiting other players. For Jimmy King, he came to UofM because Juwan Howard, his roommate on a recruiting trip, was going. And to put it all together, Juwan became a Michigan Wolverine because his recently diseased grandmother wanted him to go to UofM. Together they became the Fab Five and marched their way on campus and took the college basketball world by storm making it to back-to-back NCAA men's national championship appearances.
The caliber of talent that sounds this book is one for the history books. However, the Fab Five would not be the book it was without the writing and story telling ability of Mitch Albom. Albom has been voted the number one sports writer an unprecedented seven times by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has hosted a TV show on ESPN and written many famous books as well as a sports column for the "Detroit Free Press". His ability to touch every reader regardless of background is rare. He makes people cry reading Tuesdays with Morrie and people stand up in cheer for the `91 Michigan basketball team in the Fab Five. Undoubtedly, Albom is one of the best writers in American and is writing about one of the best sports teams America has ever witnessed.
Albom accurately describes the sequence of events leading five high school seniors to main-stream college freshman superstars. But one of the things that makes this story one for the ages is that while on many teams today it is rare to see two freshmen starting a game, in 1991 the Fab Five were five freshman players who all started on a team that made it to the NCAA men's Championship basketball game. Having five freshman start a national championship game is unheard of and still to this day, unmatched. Albom predicts, "There will never be another group like the Fab Five." Through what brought them to Michigan, through every behind the scenes event, through every exciting and electrifying game, this book comes to life in front of the readers' eyes. As the book progresses the plot thickens for these young athletes as if Albom himself wrote the story. Every big game and tournament game was commentated as if live from the radio. Albom writes, "And with 21 seconds left, Michigan lead by just a basket, 71-69. `No three-point-shots,' fisher yelled." The games brought a sense of involvement for the reader taking them back in time to the game. With writing style that is clear and descriptive, and while combined with the dazzling games provided by the Michigan Basketball team, this leads to a suspenseful, well illustrated book that makes the heart pump and adrenaline rush. While watching the suspenseful games, Albom knew greatness at the very moment it happened and was there to preserve ever moment of history in his book; a book about kids who became "The Greatest Class Ever Recruited."
They had become the most popular names and faces in college basketball. In Ann Arbor, they sold jerseys and shorts for a hundred and fifty dollars total; "They sold out in a heartbeat," Albom wrote. Stories like these make this book different than any other sports book, a book written while the events occurred with detailed stories nobody else could get. He also wrote about that one game they all walked onto the court with their fashionably baggy shorts, black socks and black shoes revolutionizing college basketball, and he was there to catch every story and detail. Black socks, black shoes and baggy shorts all surprised people watching college basketball. Later looking back, people would contribute these five freshmen as revolutionizing basketball and creating its image today. Albom knew this and felt it was necessary to capture their uniqueness in this book. Mitch Albom, like the rest of the world knew greatness while it was happening and the passion and enthusiasm that he wrote with to illustrate that greatness he was witnessing is another example of why this book is so fabulous.
Albom also included inside stories, taking the reader to a place only a few were able to see. Inside the games, inside the practices and inside the family that was the Fab Five. When Jalen walked in the first day as a freshman and announced, "Freshmen verse ya'll," everyone in the gym was stunned. Where most freshmen come in to find themselves at the bottom of the barrel, these freshmen came in and ran right to the top. After saying, "Freshmen verse ya'll," the five freshman went on to win three scrimmages against the upper classmen. Albom wrote, "The Fab Five has been born." While many people could watch the televised games and see for themselves the spectacle surrounding these freshmen, he took this audience backstage and incorporated these stories that give the reader more than they could otherwise see. Stories about crazy pranks to trash talking rants and bizarre interviews to the baggy shorts and black socks and shoes, is why Fab Five gives the reader more than a sports book. It gives the reader a legendary, and even though no previous knowledge is necessary a substantial amount of time is essential because putting the book down once the readers starts if difficult.
The Fab Five is a humorous, entertaining and well written book, but furthermore, it is an inside look at one of the greatest college basketball stories. Mitch Albom, as one of America's most heralded writers, gives one of his best writing performances for his perfectly illustrated, historical tale of "The Greatest Recruiting Class Ever." He captivated my attention and sparked my interest in Michigan Basketball because of his urban style humor and story telling ability. While most other historical accounts tend to be boring, Mitch Albom captivates his readers and provides one of the best books about sports; a must read for any sports fan. Albom quoted Jalen Rose, "they'll be talking about us for 20 years." This is true about the Fab Five and the Fab Five will be talked about for many years to come