Friday, March 18, 2011


I know black people.

I know white people.

I have black friends.

I have white friends.

I'm black.

But I guess you may have already known that. I'm always open to a discussion of race. I am selective with whom I get into these discussions because some people can't seem to get pass their own agenda to listen to anyone else. The subject of race came up this week after Sunday night's airing of "The Fab Five", a basketball documentary on the University of Michigan's 5 highly heralded freshman, on ESPN. The documentary covered the lives of the Fab 5...Chris Webber, Jalen Rose (executive producer of the documentary), Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, and Juwan Howard. The piece was impressive and it hit close to home for me because we all graduated in the same high school year (1991). We played different sports but I knew who they were.

During the documentary, the guys were asked their opinions on Duke. It should be noted that the Fab 5 never beat Duke. They lost 2 regular season games and a national championship game to them. When asked about Duke, Jalen Rose said...

"I hated Duke and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn't recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms,"

Boom! When he said it, twitter exploded. Some were sending tweets of disbelief. Others were sending tweets in agreement. When they asked Jimmy King what he thought of Duke star Grant Hill..."I thought he was a bitch". Jalen also called Duke All American Christan Laettner "an overrated pussy".

Pow! Shots fired.

I will be the first to admit that those were a bad choice of words. Jalen went on to explain that he didn't feel that way today. That was how he felt as an 18 yr old kid. Jalen, a hoopster from the inner city of Detroit, knew that a school like Duke wouldn't recruit him because they don't normally recruit black kids from the inner city...and even fewer that don't come from 2 parent household. Instead of being bitter, he used this as fuel to motivate himself.

Grant Hill took offense to what was said. He took the time to post a BLOG on the NY Times website...

"In his garbled but sweeping comment that Duke recruits only 'black players that were 'Uncle Toms,' Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle-class families. He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today. I am beyond fortunate to have two parents who are still working well into their 60s. They received great educations and use them every day. My parents taught me a personal ethic I try to live by and pass on to my children...My teammates at Duke -- all of them, black and white -- were a band of brothers who came together to play at the highest level for the best coach in basketball. I know most of the black players who preceded and followed me at Duke. They all contribute to our tradition of excellence on the court..It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men like Johnny Dawkins (coach at Stanford), Tommy Amaker (coach at Harvard), Billy King (general manager of the Nets), Tony Lang (coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan), Thomas Hill (small-business owner in Texas), Jeff Capel (former coach at Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth), Kenny Blakeney (assistant coach at Harvard), Jay Williams (ESPN analyst), Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) and Chris Duhon (Orlando Magic) ever sold out their race."

I'm a fan of Grant Hill's. Always have been. Always will be. Even when he played at Duke he seemed like a cool brutha. I've always heard great things about him. I mean...he impressed me when he went on David Letterman back in the day and played "Tender Love" on the piano.

Hole up *Jay Z voice*

Did you REALLY feel the need to respond Grant? C'mon son! Jalen said he felt that way at 18 and you wrote a diatribe like he called you an Uncle Tom yesterday! Please! I'm surprised that you took the bait. I'm not saying that what Jalen said was true. It was a bad choice of words...even for an 18 yr old. As a people, we SHOULD want the best for our kids. Duke is a great school. My best friend graduated from Duke and trust me...she's no elitist. If my sons can go to Duke, then that's where they'll go. HOWEVER, Grant sounded like a sucker. There was no need to defend yourself, your heritage, and your people. Maybe he missed the part where Jalen said he wanted to BE like Grant Hill. I'm beginning to wonder if Grant even watched the documentary. And did you feel the need to "status drop" and let the world know what your former teammates were doing? That's bitchmade right there! Who cares where these guys work?

I'll say this...I don't think Grant Hill is an Uncle Tom. When a BLACK man throws out that term, there is usually two people who get offended...white people (b/c they think you're talking about their friend) and black people who ARE Uncle Toms. Much like the N word, Uncle Tom is not a word that I use nor will you see on this blog. Do Uncle Tom's exist? Hell yeah! I went to school with a few. I've worked with a few. I live in Atlanta and I can throw a rock and hit a few. I just think this was a bit much and it took away from a very good documentary. Grant Hill is mad about something that was THOUGHT 20 yrs ago. I can't even begin to tell you what my thought process was 20 yrs ago. It comes down to ain't what people call you...but it's what you will answer to...

I didn't see a blog from Laettner

Grant...I'm not calling you an Uncle Tom or a bitch...but this blog don't help.

A hit dog will holler.


Donald said...

You hit the nail on the head. I could agree with you more!

theINTELLECT said...

Great post! When I watched the documentary and saw Rose and King's comments I thought they were talking from their college days. Were their comments shocking? Yes, but they were also very thought-provoking and funny. At some point you're gonna hate Duke, it happens. But for Grant to right that blog was kinda sucka-made and I didn't see a need for it.

Also, if the Fab 5 coments regarding their opponents is so shocking and newsworthy 20 years later, then where is the blog from the OSU players? Oh wait, they realized these were feelings from 20 years ago and didn't worry about it. Grant should do the same.

Kitty said...

Exactly what I was thinking Kyle. maybe 18 year old Jalen WAS right in thinking Grant was a b*tch. That response was unnecessary and made him look like a sucker. Sometimes not responding is the best response.

ShellyShell said...

We had this discussion at work. My coworker was saying that he could "kinda" see Grant's point of view about the two parent household etc. But then he said he could see Jalen's view. I get what Grant was saying but my thing is was it neccessary to respond in an OpEd to the NYT. Seriously Grant. I thought Jalen was VERY clear that his sentiments were of a 18 year old freshman and NOT a 38 year old MAN!

Duke is an excellent school who wouldn't want their children to attend? Like you stated most people want excellence from their kids and Duke exemplifies that.

I have always loved Grant. We were the same age and had the same major. I had dreams of marrying! While I still like him he seems like a little beyatch to me right now!

ShellyShell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KayC, The Quiet Storm said...

Haven't had the pleasure of watching the documentary yet but I was a HUGE fab five fan and that was their claim to fame....five inner-city kids taken from their circumstances and making it to the final four as freshman.

Their thought process isn't shocking to me. Then or now. They were inner-city kids who were not exposed to much. BUT Grant's need to respond was shocking and a b!tch move to throw up what his former teammates are doing now. Who cares? It is well known that athletes pick their colleges based on the school's rep and namesake because it helps out later in life with people who are shallow enough to fall in the stereotype. It was WELL known how and where Duke recruited their players.

Seems like a publicity stunt on Grant's part. Get over yourself, Grant. You have a family, this is NOT good father behavior!

Ieisha said...

You summed it up perfectly. Obviously, that's not the first time Grant Hill had been called an Uncle Tom to take it like that.

My mama said sometimes, it ain't what you called but what you answer to.

Phoenix said...

As most have already said, Grant Hill didn't need to write a blog about Jalen's comments. It was clear that Jalen and Jimmy were both speaking from their perspective as young basketball players. I really don't think Grant saw the documentary b/c if he had seen it he would have known the context of the statements. Strong, YES, but how he felt at the time. I like Grant and always felt he was one of the good guys. Duke graduates should be much smarter than what Grant displayed by responding. Now the documentary is overshadowed by this bs. Great Post!

Thoughtsofsoutherngal said...

It seemed like Grant only heard the words "Uncle Tom". I can't find fault in what Jalen said. He was being honest about his true feelings back then. Here you have inner city kids who are called "thugs" by the media then you have Grant and Duke who the media made out like a white light shined on them everyday. If Grant would have heard more than "Uncle Tom", he would have realized that Jalen said he was jealous because Grant was the epitome of everything someone should be and that he, was everything you weren’t supposed to be...coming from a broken home and living in a low-income neighborhood.

Let's face it, Duke doesn't recruit a certain kind of player. Jalen and the rest of players felt what they felt because of this.

Grant's letter was really petty. It was basically saying "you hurt my feelings so let me tell you how much better my life is/was compared to yours". He didn't even try to understand what Jalen said.