Monday, March 14, 2011

30 for 30, Jalen Rose on Duke

In last night's 30 for 30 on Michigan's Fab 5, Jalen Rose--admittedly, one of DBSF's preferred NBA analysts--claimed that he hated Duke--nothing wrong with that (DBSF has petitioned the US Government for years to qualify them as whatever is the category lower than "state-sponsored terrorists")--and, that Duke recruited "Uncle Tom's".

He went on to clarify that Duke only recruited black athletes from more socioeconomically established families. This, Rose suggests, explains why inner-city kids, like himself in the late 1980's, got overlooked by Duke. (Rose ignored that--as has been pointed out many times today--Duke did recruit his teammate Chris Webber, who supposedly ranked Duke as his second option to Michigan.)

But, Rose misses that Duke, like a few other prestigious athletic programs (e.g., Stanford), recruit from a socioeconomically fortunate pool of players across racial lines. It's not just that black players at Duke typically come from more well-to-do families; all of their players tend to. Does Rose really think Coach K would recruit a Jason Williams?

Perhaps what's more concerning is that Rose's comment about black Duke players implicitly equates socioeconomic success with Uncle Tomism/ "black" deference to "white" norms. If Rose believes this to be true then what should people infer about him as an African American who has made tens of millions of dollars, and who works as a lead analyst for one of the world's largest media conglomerates (i.e. Disney/ ABC/ ESPN)? If Rose intended for what the statement implicitly suggests then obviously it is without merit.

Rose probably only made the statement for entertainment value without considering the logical (and, more importantly social) implications. Of course, none of this should take away from Rose's most important argument--that Duke, like Big East football and diarrhea on a plane, sucks.


  1. The lack of Uncle Tyronism in this post is unsettling. You're better than that, DBSF.

  2. A non-story... Rose merely made the statement in hindsight thinking back to when he was 18 years old. As athletes do when they are on the highest level of competition, they tend to fabricate and conjure up whatever motivation they can in order to excel on the field or court. He believed it hence it was true to him... i think the better story is why wasn't Chris Webber on the show at all??

  3. Webber probably got no love because of his contract with TNT. And, that's right about Rose simply reflecting on being 18. But, a more important underlying problem is the belief that socioeconomic success is some how intimately linked to Uncle Tomism.