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Memory lane

Chris Webber goes back to where it all began

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Posted: Saturday February 12, 2000 07:44 PM

  Chris Webber Chris Webber doesn't anticipate getting a negative reception in his return to Oakland for the All-Star game. Doug Pensinger/Allsport

By Jennifer A. Cooper, CNNSI.com

OAKLAND -- The last time Chris Webber played in a game in Oakland surrounded by All-Stars, they were his teammates.

The 1993-94 NBA Rookie of the Year was part of a Golden State team that won 50 games that season and featured Latrell Sprewell, Chris Mullin and an injured Tim Hardaway.

"I have great memories, and, if anything, they are the best memories I have of basketball, especially in my pro career, and that's being drafted and playing my first NBA game here," Webber said. "That was a dream come true."

But there was no fairy-tale ending for the Warriors and Webber. On Nov. 17, 1994, Golden State traded its young star to Washington for Tom Gugliotta and three future first-round picks. After an unfortunate stint with the Wizards, Webber finally found and followed the Yellow Brick Road to Sacramento, where he's the veteran leader on an upstart Kings team.

Meanwhile, Golden State has been anything but golden. They're best season since Webber's time was the 36-46 1995-96 campaign, while the low point was the 19-63 effort in '97-98. And not one Warrior remains from that 50-win season.

This weekend, Webber returns to Oakland a full-fledged success. He's even a dark-horse candidate for league MVP. But he doesn't expect any bitterness from the Bay Area crowd.

"The love has always been there," he said. "Even when I got booed coming back, I knew it was a boo, not that 'We hate you,' but 'We're just mad at you right now for leaving.'

"I always felt great and comfortable here with the people of Oakland, so it's a good feeling. I expect nothing but love," he said.

And if the people of Oakland don't give it up for him, Webber's convinced he'll still have some supporters in the stands.

"I know there are going to be some Sac fans in the house," Webber said. "We could go play in Japan and there would be some people from Sacramento over there. Hopefully, we will do them proud, [Jason Williams] and myself, and make them feel like that drive down here was worth it."

Webber probably doesn't have worry too much about pleasing those Kings fans. Unlike the Warriors, they won't let their Prince Charming get away.


 
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