Webber attended Detroit Country Day School and at the time was the most recruited Michigan high school basketball player since Magic Johnson. Webber led Country Day to three MHSAA State championships. As a senior in high school Webber averaged 29.4 points and 13 rebounds per game. He was named Michigan's Mr. Basketball and the 1990–1991 National High School player of the year. He was named MVP in both the McDonald's and Dapper Dan All-Star games.
After graduating from Detroit Country Day School, Webber attended the University of Michigan for two years. While a Michigan Wolverine, Webber led the group of players known as the Fab Five, which included himself, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. This group, all of whom entered Michigan as freshmen in the fall of 1991, took the basketball team to the NCAA finals twice, losing both times. The Fab Five, sporting long, baggy shorts and black socks, became immensely popular as they were seen as bringing a hip hop flavor to the game. Four of the Fab Five (Webber, Rose, Howard, and King) made it to the NBA.
On April 5, 1993, at Michigan's second consecutive NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game with 11 seconds remaining, Webber brought the ball up the court into a half court trap. Michigan was down 73–71. Webber attempted to call for a timeout while his team had none remaining, resulting in a technical foul that effectively clinched the game for North Carolina. Webber continues to receive ridicule for his time-out error; when he joined Inside the NBA in 2008, part of the humorous initiation ceremony was the question "In college basketball how many timeouts do you get in a game?" (Webber replied, "I still don't know the answer!") His father has a license plate that says timeout.
The game marked the end of Webber's acclaimed two-year collegiate basketball career. In his second season, he was a first team All-American selection and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year. These awards and honors have been vacated due to University of Michigan and NCAA sanctions related to the University of Michigan basketball scandal. In that scandal, Webber received over $200,000 from a local booster while playing basketball for Michigan. Webber was convicted of perjury and banned from any affiliation with the Michigan program until 2013.
Despite the ban, Webber attended the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game between Michigan and Louisville. He apparently watched the game from a private suite, rather than in the grandstands near courtside, where the other members of the Fab Five watched the game together. Webber posted on Twitter before the game: "I'm here at the Georgia Dome to show my support for the Michigan men's basketball team in its quest for a National Championship. I've known some of the players on the team since they were kids and I am excited for them and all of the student athletes on the court tonight who are wearing the Michigan uniform. It has been a great season and I wish them all the best."
Webber was selected by the Orlando Magic with the first pick of the 1993 NBA draft, becoming the first sophomore since Magic Johnson to be a #1 overall draft pick. The Magic immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Penny Hardaway and three future first round draft picks. Over his 15-year NBA career, Webber made over $176 million.
Webber had an outstanding first year, averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was instrumental in leading the Warriors back into the playoffs where they were swept by the Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns in three games. However, he had a long-standing conflict with his coach, Don Nelson. Nelson wanted to make Webber primarily a post player, despite Webber's superb passing ability and good ball handling skills for someone his size at 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall. Webber also disliked playing a substantial amount of time at center, given Nelson's propensity towards smaller, faster line ups. In the 1994 off-season, the Warriors acquired Rony Seikaly so that Webber could play primarily at power forward. However, at the time, the differences between Webber and Nelson were considered to be irreconcilable. Webber exercised a one-year escape clause in his contract, stating he had no intention of returning to the Warriors. With few alternatives, Golden State agreed to a sign-and-trade deal, sending Webber to the Washington Bullets (renamed the Wizards in 1997) for forward Tom Gugliotta and three first-round draft picks.
Webber was traded in his second year to the Washington Bullets where he was reunited with his college teammate and friend, Juwan Howard. He spent the next three years with the Bullets (later renamed the Washington Wizards), although in the 1995–96 season injuries limited him to only 15 games. Webber rebounded the following year and was named to his first All-Star team in 1997. The same season, Webber led the Bullets into the playoffs for the first time in nine years, but they were swept by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in three games. By 1998, Webber had established himself as a great power forward, but his time in Washington had also worn out.
On May 14, 1998, Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe. Although Webber originally did not want to go to Sacramento, as they were a perennially losing team, he had his best years in Sacramento and nearly took the Kings to the NBA Finals.
When Webber arrived, the Kings also signed small forward Peja Stojaković and center Vlade Divac, and drafted point guard Jason Williams. In his first year with the Kings (the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season), Webber won the rebounding title averaging a league high 13.0 rebounds per game, ending Dennis Rodman's seven-year run as the NBA's rebound leader. Under the guidance of Rick Adelman, the Kings team made it into the 1999 Playoffs, where they lost to the Utah Jazz led by future hall of famers Karl Malone and John Stockton.
In years to come, Webber and the Kings became one of the league's top franchises, and NBA title contenders. He was named to the All-Star team again in 2000 and 2001 while cementing his status as one of the premier power forwards in the NBA. For the 1999–2000 season Webber was the cover athlete on NBA Jam 2000; that season, Webber led the Kings to 44 wins improving their win column from a year before, and into the first round of the 2000 Playoffs where they faced the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing the first two games of the series in Los Angeles, the Kings won the next two in Sacramento, including 23 points, 14 rebounds, 7 blocks, 8 assists and 4 steals from Webber in game four, to send the series back to Los Angeles for a deciding game 5. The Kings lost Game 5 and the series to the Lakers who went on to win the championship that year.
Webber peaked in the 2000–01 season, when he averaged a career-high 27.1 points. He also averaged 11.1 rebounds and was fourth in MVP voting, while starting at forward for the Western Conference All-Star Team in the 2001 All-Star Game in Washington. In the 2001 Playoffs, Webber and the Kings defeated the Phoenix Suns in four games of the first round to advance to the second round, where they faced the Los Angeles Lakers for a second year in a row. The Kings lost in four games to the Lakers despite Webber`s 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in game four.
On July 27, 2001, Webber signed a $127 million, seven-year contract with the Kings. In the 2001–02 season, Webber played in 54 games leading the Kings to a Pacific division title and a franchise-record (and league-best) 61–21 season. He also made his fourth All-Star team and the All-NBA Second Team. In the 2002 Playoffs the Kings defeated the Utah Jazz in four games and Dallas Mavericks in five games in the first two rounds en rote to reaching the Western Conference Finals against their archrivals, the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, a series that would prove to be one of the most memorable (and most controversial) in NBA History. The series was nip and tuck all the way as both teams traded wins in the first six games of the series as the Lakers won games one, four (highlighted by the game winner from Robert Horry) and six (a game which featured many controversial calls, including a late-game foul on Mike Bibby—after he was bleeding from being elbowed in the nose by Bryant. All told, the Lakers shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter NBA Commissioner David Stern denied Donaghy's allegations. Lawrence Pedowitz, who led a review of the league's officiating following the outbreak of the scandal, concluded that while Game 6 was poorly officiated, no concrete evidence existed of it having been fixed. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy filed in court papers in 2008 said that Game 6 was fixed by the NBA.), while the Kings won games two, three and five, including 29 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists from Webber plus the game-winner from teammate Mike Bibby in game five, heading into the deciding seventh game back at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, a game which would proved to be most memorable of the series. The game was nip and tuck all the way with Webber recording 20 points 11 assists 8 rebounds 2 blocks and 1 steal and Bryant and O'Neal recording 30 points 10 rebounds 7 assists and 2 steals with 35 points 13 rebounds 4 blocks and 2 assists, respectively, as the game went into overtime with missed shots from teammates Stojakovic and Doug Christie, boilling to the last minutes of the game with Webber fouling O'Neal with 1:27 left in overtime causing O'Neal made both free throws and the Kings would go on to lose Game 7 of the series at home. It was the closest that Webber ever got to a championship.
In the next season, Webber averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per game. He was cited as a possible MVP candidate, and made his fifth consecutive All-Star team. In a bad sign of what was to come, Webber missed the All Star game with a sprained ankle. Nevertheless, he returned and the Kings were among the favorites to win the NBA Championship. In the second game of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks, Webber suffered a career-threatening knee injury while running down the lane untouched that forced him to miss nearly a year of action. This shattered the Kings` title hopes, and they lost the series in seven games.
After microfracture surgery, he returned for the final 23 games of the 2003–04 season, in which he led the Kings (who went 55-27 that season) into the 2004 Playoffs where they faced their archrivals the Dallas Mavericks for the third year in a row, the Kings defeated the Mavericks in five thrilling entertaining games in the first round en rote to reaching the Western Conference Semifinals against the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves led by league MVP Kevin Garnett, a series that would prove to be one of the most memorable in NBA history. Each game was neck and neck with both teams trading wins in the first six games of the series as the Timberwolves won games two, three and five, while the Kings won games one, four and six, including 28 points 8 rebounds 1 assist 3 steals and 1 block from Webber in game four, heading into the deciding seventh game back at the Target Center in Minnesota, a game which would proved to be the most memorable of the series, the game was nip and tuck all the way with Webber recording 16 points 8 rebounds 4 assists and 1 steal and Garnett on the other hand recording 32 points 21 rebounds 2 assists 4 steals and 5 blocks boiling down to the last play of the game with the Kings trailing the Timberwolves with 0.2 seconds left in the game, after receiving an inbounds pass Webber pump-faked Garnett in the air and got a clean look as Garnett avoided contact for a three-point shot that rimmed out as the final buzzer sounded and the Kings lost Game 7 and the series, marking the third year in a row that the Kings lost a deciding game 7. It turned out to be the last chance the Webber-led Kings had to win a championship and he was traded the following season thus resulting in the team being dismantled the following season.
In February 2005, Webber was traded, along with Michael Bradley and Matt Barnes, to the Philadelphia 76ers for power forward Kenny Thomas, forward/center Brian Skinner, and former King Corliss Williamson. Webber took some time to fit in with the 76ers' offense, where he was the second scoring option, behind Allen Iverson. He eventually helped catapult the Sixers to a berth in the 2005 playoffs, where the Sixers lost to the Detroit Pistons. However, they did not reach the playoffs in 2006, despite Webber putting up a resurgent 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Because of the microfracture surgery on his knee, Webber lost his lateral quickness and jumping ability. While he still possessed offensive skills, he was seen as a defensive liability and was usually benched for the 4th quarters. This caused Webber to reportedly call for a trade.
On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Webber and Iverson were fined for not showing up at the Philadelphia 76ers' final home game of the season, which was Fan Appreciation Night, although both of them were injured and not expected to play. The following day they both apologized for being absent.
During the 2006–07 season Webber only played 18 of 35 games for the Sixers leading the media to question his motivation. On January 11, 2007 Sixers GM Billy King announced that the Sixers and Webber had agreed to a reported $25 million contract buyout on the remaining two years left on his contract, in effect paying him not to play. Later that day, the Sixers waived Webber, making him a free agent.
On January 16, 2007, Webber signed with the Detroit Pistons. He has stated throughout his career that he always wanted to play for his hometown team. His usual number 4 had been retired in honor of Joe Dumars, so Webber donned the number 84, because his nephew had a dream of him making a buzzer beater with that number on. The Pistons were a much improved basketball team after Webber's acquisition, improving their record in the Eastern Conference and solidifying the first seed in the East. However, the Eastern Conference favorites failed to advance to the finals after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, leaving Webber short of an NBA Finals appearance yet again. Indeed, Webber performed well in the 2007 Playoffs despite receiving limited minutes. Webber still managed to average 10 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs and shot an impressive 52.4% from the field. His efforts were highlighted by a game 5 performance in the Eastern Conference Finals in which Webber scored 20 points (including 5 points in the double-overtime period) on 9 of 13 shooting and grabbed 7 boards. Nevertheless, Detroit still lost what turned out to be the key game in the series in double overtime and Webber ended up averaging a career low 11.2 PPG in his run with the Pistons. During the off-season, Detroit did not re-sign Webber. Despite receiving lucrative proposals from teams in Europe, he was in free agency at the beginning of the regular season.
On January 29, 2008, the Golden State Warriors signed Webber for the rest of the season. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he would receive the pro-rated veteran's minimum of $1.2 million (approximately $570,000). This came after a rejected offer by the Los Angeles Lakers who were trying to coax Webber in with two 10-day contracts so they could decide afterwards if they wanted him the rest of the season. This also put to rest talks of joining the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, or retirement. He played in only nine games for the Warriors, averaging 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game.
On March 25, 2008, Webber officially retired from basketball due to persistent problems with his surgically repaired knee and was waived by the Warriors. On March 27, 2008, Webber made his first appearance on television on Inside the NBA on TNT, alongside Charles Barkley and host Ernie Johnson. On April 25, 2008, TNT offered Webber a job to be a commentator for the postseason.
On February 6, 2009, Webber returned to ARCO Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings, to participate in the ceremonies surrounding the retirement of his jersey, #4.
In 1998, Webber was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana and five other traffic-related violations after being pulled over for speeding on the way to the practice center at the MCI Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Webber was eventually acquitted by a jury of the assault, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and driving under the influence charges, and paid $560 in fines for lesser violations.
Later in 1998 during the off-season, while leaving Puerto Rico on a promotional tour for Fila sneakers, Webber paid a $500 fine after U.S. Customs found marijuana in his bag. Soon after Fila dropped Webber as an endorser, a three-member panel of arbitrators awarded Webber $2.61 million for breach of contract.
In 2002, Webber was charged for lying to a grand jury as part of a larger investigation of a numbers gambling operation, run by Michigan basketball program booster Ed Martin, in Ford Motor Company plants in the Detroit area. The investigation, originally focused on the numbers operation and tax evasion, soon widened to include the University of Michigan basketball program. Martin was convicted on counts of tax evasion and robbery and was scheduled to testify on the financial connections between himself and Webber at a sentencing hearing, but died of a heart attack before the hearing.
As a result of evidence admitted during the course of Martin's trial, Webber pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt for lying about his role in a scandal in which four players, including himself, had accepted illicit loans from Martin. Martin had been giving money to Webber since the 8th grade. He admitted in the plea that in 1994 he gave Martin about $38,000 in cash as partial repayment for expenditures Martin made on his behalf. He was ordered to pay $100,000.00 and perform 330 hours of community service.
Due to concerns that Webber's amateur status had been compromised, Michigan forfeited its victory in the 1992 Final Four over Cincinnati, as well as its runner-up status in the 1992 tourney. Michigan also forfeited the entire 1992–93 season, removed the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners from the Crisler Arena rafters, and deleted Webber's records from its record book. The NCAA also ordered Michigan to disassociate itself from Webber until 2013. Webber later called Michigan's decision "hurtful" because he and his Fab Five teammates "gave everything to Michigan" while they played there.
After Webber's plea, the Michigan State High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) recommended that Detroit Country Day forfeit all games in which Webber appeared (including three state championships), since according to his own admission, Webber had been accepting money from Martin since junior high school. The school conducted its own investigation, and called a press conference to announce it had found "no credible evidence" that Webber had accepted "substantial" amounts of cash from Martin while in high school, and therefore refused to forfeit any games. The MHSAA claimed it had no legal authority to force the games to be forfeited.
Webber was suspended by the NBA for a total of eight games—five for an unnamed violation of the league substance abuse policies and three for lying to the grand jury. Webber received the suspensions once he recovered from an injury that kept him out for half of the 2003–04 season.
The scandal was explored in a documentary by ESPN Films called The Fab Five, which aired in March 2011. In it, the University of Michigan repeated its position that it would not associate with Webber until he publicly apologized for his part in the Ed Martin scandal, with the self-imposed 10-year ban on its association with the remainder of the players ending in 2013. Webber declined to participate in the documentary.
Webber averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists during his NBA career. The Golden State Warriors did not make the playoffs during the first 12 years after they traded Webber. In 1997, he led Washington to their first playoff appearance since 1989. They would not reach the playoffs again until 2005, seven years after trading Webber. Prior to Webber's arrival in 1998, the Kings made the playoffs only twice (1985 and 1996) since they moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985.
Webber was ranked #64 in SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003. He was ranked #11 in an ESPN.com experts poll of the top power forwards of all time in 2005 and ranked #72 on a list of the Top 96 NBA Players of all time in Bill Simmons' bestseller The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy published in 2009.
The Sacramento Kings retired Webber's number 4 jersey on February 6, 2009 when the Kings hosted the Utah Jazz.
In 2014, he made another special appearance in the Kings' arena along with former teammate Mike Bibby and both were honored that day.
Since retiring from the NBA, Webber has become an analyst on NBA TV's NBA Gametime Live. He does the Tuesday Fan Night alongside Ernie Johnson and Kevin McHale. He also served as an occasional guest analyst on TNT's Inside the NBA during the 2008–09 season. During Charles Barkley's leave of absence, Webber substituted for him along with other guests such as Gary Payton and Mike Fratello. Webber has also expressed interests in eventually becoming a GM and owner.
In August 2010, Webber played in the NBA Asia Challenge 2010 at Araneta Coliseum in Manila, an exhibition game which pitted NBA legends and NBA Development League players against Philippine Basketball Association stars and legends.
Webber has also stated he is working on a book. Outside of basketball, Webber has been active in his investment company representing basketball and football players, real estate, and film projects. In 2011, it was reported that, that company had lined up investors to build the Kings a new arena.
Webber was the owner of Center Court With C-Webb, a restaurant in Sacramento, California. The restaurant closed on November 17, 2009. Earlier that year, Webber married his longtime girlfriend Erika Dates during a private ceremony at his Atlanta home. In attendance were 200 guests including family and close friends.
Webber has also tried his hand at music production, producing Nas's tracks "Surviving the Times" from his Greatest Hits album and "Blunt Ashes" from Hip Hop Is Dead.
In late 2016, Webber began hosting Fearless or Insane on Podcast One.
Webber has a personal collection of African-American artifacts which he began collecting in 1994. Upon entering the NBA, he began collecting artifacts, starting with the purchase of two slave records. Webber believes that these artifacts are a reflection of his beliefs and aspirations. He initially collected them as encouragements to face life obstacles. However, he had no intentions on exhibiting them until the growth of his collection prompted additional storage. His collection includes an original 1901 publication of an autobiography by Booker T. Washington, various documents, letters, and postcards signed by Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. When not on public exhibit, the artifacts are stored at the Sacramento Public Library's Archival Vault. In previous years the Chris Webber Collection has previously been featured in Crocker Art Museum and Wayne State University.
On June 28, 2007, Webber unveiled his collection of African-American artifacts during the Celebrating Heritage Exhibition at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. During a news conference, Webber said he believed that children can learn from these artifacts, "Hopefully, when children see them they will see there is no excuse for us not to be successful. There's no excuse not to find something that you love to do. There's no excuse to not work hard at it."
Webber is active in various charities and created The Timeout Foundation in 1993. The foundation's mission is to provide positive educational and recreational opportunities to youth.
In 1999, Webber created C-Webb's Crew where a group of tickets at every Kings regular home season game would be donated to at-risk youth and their families. To date, over 3,000 youths and their families have attended a game through C-Webb's Crew.
Community awards Webber has won include the inaugural Sacramento Kings/Oscar Robertson Triple Double Award, which is annually awarded to a Kings player who exemplifies: team leadership, all-around game, and sportsmanship; the NBA Community Assist Award for his contributions in February 2003, and the Wish Maker of the Year in 2003 awarded by the Sacramento Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation.
More recently, Webber held a celebrity weekend, Bada Bling!, at the Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. The event was held from July 28–30, 2006 and included a live auction and celebrity poker tournament. Many renowned NBA players participated including then-current and former teammates: Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, Andre Iguodala, Bobby Jackson, Kyle Korver, and his then-current coach, Maurice Cheeks. Other notable participants included Charles Barkley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gary Payton, Kenny Smith, Moses Malone, and Stephon Marbury. Numerous entertainers attended as well such as Nas and Common. All of the proceeds were donated to The Timeout Foundation.
Webber hosted his second annual Bada Bling charity weekend from July 20–22, 2007 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.
Webber also has produced hip hop records, including two songs for rapper Nas: "Blunt Ashes" and "Surviving the Times" and appeared on the skit Webber from Naughty by Nature's Grammy Award winning album Poverty's Paradise.5 time All-Star
5 time All-NBA – 2001 first team, 1999, 2002, & 2003 second team, 2000 third team
NBA Rookie of the Year (1994)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1994)
1990–1991 National High School player of the year
Jerseys: #44 Detroit Country Day School, #4 Sacramento Kings
1999 NBA rebounding champ (13.0 rpg)