Webber adds to his plate with Sacramento restaurant

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Chris Webber no longer plays for the Kings, but he is keeping ties to Sacramento by opening a restaurant in the city.

Webber, traded last season from Sacramento to Philadelphia, held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the first of what he hopes will be a chain of 10 restaurants called "Center Court with C Webb."

The family and entertainment restaurant, which will resemble a basketball court, is scheduled to open in the fall about one mile south of Arco Arena.

"We did not want this to be sports bar," Webber said during a news conference. "We wanted this to be a very family-friendly oriented restaurant with themes."

Once completed, the restaurant will feature interactive video displays and memorabilia in the dining room. Webber modeled the restaurant after one named for baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey in the San Francisco Bay area.

"It really talks about the history of game," said Webber, who was in town with the 76ers to play the Sacramento Kings. "One of the ways I came up with the idea, if any of you've been to the Bay Area, is the restaurant called McCovey's. It's a great baseball-type atmosphere restaurant and we thought, 'Why not pay homage to many of the great basketball players that came before myself?'"

Webber partnered with restaurant entrepreneurs Dudum Sports and Entertainment, the founders of McCovey's and Bing Crosby's Country Club, which are both located in suburban Walnut Creek.

Webber and Dudum Sports and Entertainment plans to build more restaurants across the country in NBA and college towns. Webber, who played two years in college at Michigan, said he would look at areas close to Big Ten Conference campuses.

Webber said he was planning to build the restaurant in Sacramento before he was traded to Philadelphia on Feb. 23, 2005. The 6-foot-10 forward, who spent 6½ years in Sacramento, never wavered on his goal.

"I love Sacramento," he said. "This is a place I still enjoy, I still love the community here, this is a family-oriented town, and I still get love from Sacramento. I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't have a restaurant here. This was the only place where I wanted to start this franchise."