"I hated Duke they only recruited black players who were Uncle Toms"
Mar 8, 2011, 11:38 AM EST
They’re college basketball’s most talked about team that never won anything, known as the Fab Five, Michigan’s 1991 recruiting class which included Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard. Interesting to see that 18 years later, they still harbor some bitterness over what they weren’t able to accomplish. With special acrimony still reserved for Duke. Rose, King and Jackson appeared on ESPN’s First Take this morning to discuss 30 for 30’s documentary on the Fab Five that will air on Sunday.
About midway through the First Take segment, they played a clip from the documentary in which Rose says:
“For me, Duke was personal. I hated Duke. And I hated everything I felt Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.”
Asked about the comment, Rose didn’t exactly backtrack, but elaborated:
“Well, certain schools recruit a typical kind of player whether the world admits it or not. And Duke is one of those schools. They recruit black players from polished families, accomplished families. And that’s fine. That’s okay. But when you’re an inner-city kid playing in a public school league, you know that certain schools aren’t going to recruit you. That’s one. And I’m okay with it. That’s how I felt as an 18-year-old kid.”
See the First Take interview video here.
Hard to know where to start here. First, obviously you’re not “okay with it,” because if you were you wouldn’t still sound so bitter. For their parts, King and Jackson agreed, Jackson saying that he appreciates now “what [Duke] has accomplished,” but he still hates them.
Looks like an interesting documentary. The Fab Five brought a “hip-hop flavor” to the game and changed it in many ways, but never won a Big Ten or national championship. Ironically, they’re probably best known for Webber’s phantom time out call against North Carolina in 1993, and a huge NCAA rules scandal that resulted a few years later in the firing of coach Steve Fisher and several sanctions against the school.
I’m not even going to get into the sadness of Rose playing the “Uncle Tom” card. That’s just beneath you, Jalen, in so many ways.
Well, he was telling the truth. Controversial? Yes. Honest? Yes.
Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, Shelden Williams, Daniel Ewing, Jay Williams, etc.
i have no idea about the history of each of dukes black basketball players and their backgrounds or the backgrounds of the black players they recruited but they never landed so i cant really comment. Who knows, maybe their is some truth to how they recruit. But Certainly calling another guy an "uncle tom" is immature and innapropriate, but jalen was young and probably a littel immature himself when he made the comment.
And while i am not black and cant speak for black people, i find it in poor taste to somehow label another black person in a negative term simply becasue they have a different up bringing or lifestyle then other black young men. Is jalen suggesting that any black kid who isnt from the streets or acts a certain way is somehow deserving of being labled with with a derogatory term?
There is no such thing as "act black." It's a skin color. Now, with that said, does Duke recruit only upper-middle class/upper-class individuals? Possibly. However, a lot of that also has to do with the fact Duke is a hard school to get in to in terms of grades, which is another factor to remember, Duke is a pretty high-esteem college educationally. So kids whose entire lives revolve solely around basketball most likely wouldn't be a fit at Duke for that reason.
This could be a case for UNC as well in a way, the did not even recruit John Wall.
The uncle tom comment might have been too harsh, but there is a lot truth in his statement. Isn't it obvious?
that off the top
Rose shouldn't be using the term "uncle tom".
"uncle tom" is an "offensive and derogatory name for a Black man who is abjectly servile and deferential to Whites". (yes I did look that up just to come up with a concise definition)
As far as I'm concerned young educated black men with good grades, athletic ability, and a hard working nature are the furthest thing from uncle toms; Players like Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton will end up successfull no matter what they end up doing.
Gang bangers who dream of the NBA but scrape by in school and don't have a backup plan if they fall short of pro basketball are the real uncle toms. The majority of them will end up working for "the man" while living in lower to middle class trappings.
good for rose.... rarely c honesty like this from analysts and espn
Did you guys ever read the Fab 5 Biography? It was a great read, though I read it like 13 years ago. Basically, Jalen was the guy who kind of personified the "hip-hop" mentality of the Fab 5. They were the rebels of college basketball at the time, and you either loved them or hated them. He wore raincoat shorts below his knees and talked a mountain of trash. The Fab 5 did not all start at Michigan from Day 1, but it came to be that they did all start by the time they had gone to two straight NCAA Finals. Chris Webber was the #1 player in his HS class, Juwan Howard was #3, Jalen was #6, Jimmy King was #9 and Ray Jackson was #84 (Just from memory of the book). The book also basically showed their incredible distaste for the Duke Blue Devils, who they felt achieved more publicity and acclaim due to their "clean image".
However, even as someone who is an avid fan of almost any team playing Duke, I do not completely agree with Jalen's statement. All in all, Duke may not have recruited Jalen due to his attitude, but the players they did recruit fit their system and perform at a high level. I do not feel like Elton Brand, Corey Maggette or Luol Deng were "Uncle Tom's", and they all played for Duke. Jalen had a major chip on his shoulder when he was in college, and I do not completely blame him, but I feel like Steve Fisher was not as much of a disciplinarian as a Coach K. He gave his players a lot more leigh way and freedom, maybe because he had too. With the allegations that later surfaced surrounding the money that Jalen and C-Webb received to go to Michigan, it is hard to see Fisher being able to institute a system that players would buy into in the vein of what Coach K gets done at Duke.
Their was a great deal of racial tension as well, as Michigan was an all black starting 5 compared to a few of Duke's prominent white players, so he felt Duke was made to look like the heroes as opposed to the Fab 5 being seen as the villain. Ultimately, I think it came down to a level of maturity that the Michigan team did not have at the time. You rarely hear about disciplinary issues involved at Duke, and their basketball teams tend to be distraction free. At Michigan, well, you never heard the end of it, and I do not think that was entirely the media's fault. In the end, I honestly respect what Coach K does and think that he tends to make solid choices in who he chooses to have play for him. Their may be some great players who are not worth the risk, and ultimately, these players had great success, but never put it together to win a championship. Talent only gets you so far, which is something we saw with Kentucky last year.
Watching them talk about it though, I understand why they hated Duke and their was bitterness. Anytime you are a top rated player and a school does not recruit you, their is definitely a sense that the school is being elitist and that they feel they are better than you or above you. Even if Duke had recruited Jalen though, he probably still would have felt the same way. He was the leader of that Fab 5 team and tried to get any edge he could to gain competitive advantage. By pulling the race card and even displaying distaste for the black players at Duke, he was psyching his team up to make Duke a rival on the level of anyone they would normally play, like Ohio State or Michigan State. I would not say that the black players at Duke were Uncle Tom's, but Coach K definitely had a different expectation for his players than Steve Fisher. Really, deep down, I do not think they were all that different, but when you create that divide and say these types of things, it creates something of a motivation and a will to take down an opponent. It is what people think is missing from basketball today, in other words, competition over comraderie.
Hey Jalen, news flash, Duke is one of the best academic schools in the nation. So yeah, they dont recruit dumbasses like you who cant even talk about basketball on TV without coming off as a moron.
Corey Maggette didnt exactly fill that uncle sam role. And if i remember correctly, they went as hard as possible after John Wall.
And Jalen, were talking Duke vs. Michigan? Good luck winning that battle. One completely illegitimate, scandal written all over it recruiting class doesnt change the fact Michigan is nothing in basketball. This is the same fool that was against the Bulls having Jay Williams, because he would steal the "spotlight" from Jalen. Yeah Jalen, alot of "Spotlight" on a 20-62 team. You were practically a star. You are the same clown who gave up 81 to Kobe. Go home. Why didnt you just say "I didnt like duke because they didnt recruit ghetto kids". Well lets look at the academic standards for Duke and Michigan, and maybe you will answer yourself, moron.
And im all for teams looking past standards to make the right basketball decisions, but a Michigan guy slamming Duke? really? wtf is the world coming to. I already know Jalen's playoff prediction will have to be San Antonio, since normally the only thing he says during playoff series is "Im taking Team X, because they have home court".
There may be truth in what he says but there is no need to use words like that. Coming from a black man as well makes it extra sad. I wonder what people who took part in the Civil Rights demos in the 1950's and 1960's think of quotes like that, they sacrificed a lot to help the likes of Jalen Rose get an equal chance in life.
I'm a white guy living in the United Kingdom so I'm not someone jumping on the race bandwagon.