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Michigan's Fab Five influenced Pistons

When a documentary about one of the signature college basketball teams of all time airs, it's a good bet that members of the Pistons will be watching.

That was the case Sunday night, when ESPN showed its Fab Five documentary about the iconic Michigan team featuring Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.

Pistons Rip Hamilton and Austin Daye were on Twitter during the show. Hamilton tweeted: "Just watch the espn special on fab 5 and realizing how much of a fan I was of michigan and those guys as a kid."

Tracy McGrady and Ben Wallace talked Monday about how the Fab Five influenced them, including their black shoes, black socks and baggy shorts.

"Their style, their swag," McGrady said when asked about the documentary. "And just how they came together and proved everybody wrong from the standpoint of the guys being so young and playing against guys that are older and teams that are more experienced -- and really going against the world because everybody wanted to see them fail.

"They changed the whole culture."

Wallace talked about how his junior college team went out and got black shoes and socks. He wore No. 4, just like Webber, and one of his friends wore No. 5, just like Rose.

"It definitely was a huge influence," Wallace said. "Not just on me, but on basketball, in general."

NOTEBOOK: Coach John Kuester said he hasn't decided on the starters for Wednesday's game against the Raptors.

The latest of 17 starting lineups this season featured McGrady at power forward Saturday night. The Pistons lost by 30 at Denver. McGrady said he hasn't played inside since high school.

"It wasn't so bad. It's really not that big of a difference," McGrady said. "The only thing is I guard somebody that's a little bit stronger than I am."

He just grinned when asked about Kuester's constant shuffling.

"Coach likes to mix things up around here," McGrady said.

BRIEFLY: Daye was excused from Monday's practice because of an illness.

Contact Vince Ellis: 313-222-6479 or vellis@freepress.com.

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May 2013

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