Graduate students in the Wake Forest new masters of arts in sports storytelling program could have a former NBA All-Star and current Turner Sports analyst as their teacher next fall.
Chris Webber will be a professor of practice in this new course of study that is part of the university’s documentary film program. According to the Associated Press, he will teach a course on sports, race and society. If you didn’t know what a professor of practice was — and I didn’t, so am happy to pass this along — it’s a non-tenure track position, primarily concerned with teaching more than research, that typically goes to those in a professional practice who have expertise in a non-academic career.
— WakeForestUniversity (@WakeForest) October 20, 2015
Webber definitely fills those criteria, as someone who was a star athlete in college basketball and the NBA. While at Michigan, he was outspoken about how players were treated, especially in regards to their jerseys and other paraphernalia being sold for big money while those athletes barely had enough for buying a meal.
As a broadcaster, Webber also has familiarity with what makes a good story and how the media perceives athletes. And he also has experience in the film industry, having formed a production company with Peter Gilbert, who was a producer on the basketball documentary Hoop Dreams. (Gilbert, by the way, is also a professor of practice in the Wake Forest documentary film program, so Webber certainly had a connection there.)
One of the projects Webber’s company has been developing is a documentary about his own life, which was likely one reason he declined to be involved with Jalen Rose’s “30 For 30” documentary, The Fab Five.
Wake Forest’s sports storytelling program launches in Fall 2016. With news of figures such as Webber teaching courses — not to mention the increasing popularity and prevalence of sports documentaries on ESPN, HBO, Showtime, Epix and other channels such as NFL Network and MLB Network — those class spots will surely fill up quickly.