I’m not saying they’re the same person, I’m just asking.
After watching the Pistons being completely overwhelmed by LeBron & the Cavs, relinquishing their dominance of the East like a kid getting their lolly confiscated, my thoughts immediately went to Chris Webber. When he was acquired by the Pistons mid-season, he looked to be exactly the piece a potential championship team would acquire to push them over the top. In theory, it seemed like a great addition to an already formidable Eastern Conference powerhouse. But, what Joe Dumars forgot to consider was the Ted McGinley factor.
For those not familiar with Ted McGinley, he’s a handsome fella, a fine TV actor and the patron saint of Jump the Shark. The theory from JTS is that his arrival to any TV show is an immediate and irrevocable sign that the show has “jumped the shark”. Essentially, McGinley was the pre-2004 Mariano Rivera of TV: whenever you saw him, you knew it was all over (cue “Enter Sandman”).
After observing him throughout his college career and pro career, I can definitively say that Chris Webber is becoming the NBA’s version of Ted McGinley. Please journey with me through both men’s careers and notice some remarkable symmetry.
Happy Days: This was Webber’s time at Michigan, where we were introduced to him and the Fab 5. Much like the show, a 50’s throwback from the 70’s and 80’s, the future seemed so bright and joyous. When you looked at his skills and those of his colleagues, there was no possible way that they wouldn’t win a title. Then between some indecision in the backcourt, an infamous time-out call and an early departure to the NBA, the promise of NCAA Tournament glory vanished. Thanks to NCAA violations, Webber’s legacy is has also disappeared from the record books in Ann Arbor, much like fans of “Happy Days” wish that McGinley’s brief run as Roger Phillips could be erased from their memories.
Married with Children: After a few largely forgettable NBA stops, Webber ended up in Sacramento with an established nucleus and an opportunity to lead his team to the promised land. After experiencing a great deal of success, Webber and the Kings never even made it past the Western Conference Finals. The Kings were never bad with Webber there, just not good enough. You could say the same about McGinley and “Married with Children”. He didn’t take the show to another level but he certainly added something positive as a clear upgrade from his predecessor. But at the end of the day, both McGinley and Webber needed to move on without much to show from their efforts.
Hope and Faith: With a brief appearance in Philly and some trade talk, C-Webb wound up with the perennial Eastern Conference Champion Detroit Pistons. This was the perfect situation for Webber, as the team was already constructed to succeed and his contribution would be a bonus, similar to McGinley and his proven female co-stars in a favorable time slot. No longer a superstar and struggling on reconstructed knees, C-Webb willed out a few solid performances in the playoffs which seemed quite promising. But instead of an elusive NBA title, all Webber got was a front row seat to the death of dynasty in what could be his last chance at getting a ring. For both McGinley and Webber, the situation looked just right but ended poorly just like everything else in their careers.
The Future: McGinley and Webber are proven commodities and destined to find more work. However, it seems unlikely that they’ll get another golden opportunity to achieve honors in their respective fields. While they’ll never recapture their glory days as a Hollywood heart throb or NBA superstar, here’s to hoping that they can find the success they’re looking for.
With that said, if I was an NBA GM or TV Executive I would still avoid C-Webb and McGinley at all costs.