MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been more than 20 years since the Michigan Wolverines first trotted out five freshman stars nicknamed “The Fab Five.” But, despite the hoopla, they never won a NCAA Championship and none have ever won a NBA Championship.

But that all changed Thursday night as the Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA championship and on the roster was the only remaining Fab Five member still playing in the NBA, Juwan Howard.

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Some of his Miami Heat teammates were toddlers when Howard was making his mark in the collegiate ranks. Specifically, point guard Norris Cole was around 3-years-old and even NBA MVP LeBron James was approximately 8-years-old.

Howard was born in 1973 and has played in the NBA for 17 years since being selected fifth-overall by the then-Washington Bullets. Howard has played in 1,173 regular season games and averages 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for his career.

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For the Heat, Howard has been a virtual coach in waiting. He’s often credited by teammates as being an extension of head coach Erik Spoelstra. He’s been with Miami since signing with the team just after the Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joined up in Miami to play for the Heat.

Howard is long past his prime as a player, but his veteran and steady leadership has played a big role in the Heat getting to where they are heading into Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He and the Fab Five never won a championship together in college, or separately in the pros.

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When Howard lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy over his head late Thursday night, it marked the conclusion of a career journey that started as a member of a heralded recruiting class and ended just seconds away from a nice beach to head off to for retirement.