I know black people.
I know white people.
I have black friends.
I have white friends.
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 this...it 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.