March Madness is in full swing and basketball fanatics nationwide are neck deep into brackets, Cinderella squads and praying their Final Four picks do not get upset. However, one of the overridding stories has focused on two gentlemen who played in one of the more memorable college basketball seasons in recent memory – Jalen Rose and Grant Hill. Rose – a member of the legendary Michigan “Fab 5” – made some very controversial comments about African American Duke University basketball players – including Hill – being “Uncle Toms.” Jalen has profusely said the comments were how he felt as an 18 year old freshman, but the words have prompted a firestorm of controversy both in and out the sports world.
Grant Hill took the time to respond to the comments through an op-ed piece in the New York Times. However, the entire piece was unable to fit due to space constraints. The former All-American took to his own site to publish the entire letter. Read a portion below.
I am a fan, friend and long time competitor of the Fab Five. This should not be a surprise because I am a contemporary of every member of that iconic team. I have competed against Jalen and Chris since the age of 13. Jalen, Chris, and Juwan are my friends and have been for 25 years. At Michigan, they represented a cultural phenomenon that impacted the country in a permanent and positive way. The very idea of the Fab Five elicited pride and promise in much the same way the Georgetown teams did in the mid-80s when I was in high school and idolized them. Their journey from youthful icons to successful men today is a road map for so many young, black men (and women) who saw their journey through the powerful documentary, Fab Five.
It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when Jay Williams and I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its airing. And, I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them.
To read the entire editorial, click here.