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Detroit Free Press: Michigan’s Jalen Rose is busy throwing out first pitch, talking sports, raising money for school

May 16, 2011

BY JOHN LOWE
DETROIT FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Member of Michigan’s Fab Five Jalen Rose was at Comerica Park today as he threw out the first pitch. But it wasn’t all about baseball for the Detroiter.

Rose is raising money for the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter school opening this fall on the Northwest side of Detroit. He’s auctioning off one of the last remaining 1969 Dodge Chargers from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show on eBay Motors starting May 22 and the proceeds will go to the school. The car is part of his private collection.

On Saturday, he talked about the school, Michigan and his fund-raising efforts.

Q: How does it feel to be in Detroit to see the Tigers and have the academy starting up this fall?

A: “I’ve been a huge Tigers fan my entire life. I remember 1984 like it was yesterday. I took a couple of hits in the cage today with Miguel Cabrera. Opening the charter school on Sept. 6 means a lot — it’s something our community really needs, an open public charter school.”

Q: You said Grant Hill agreed to support the school, so obviously you and Grant have had a chance to talk about the comments made in the Fab Five film?

A: “ Anytime you have a critically acclaimed piece like the Fab Five documentary, you are going to have 99% of the people that love it. You have 1% that have to get on the other side of the coin. I talked to Grant and reached out to Coach K and clarified that’s how I felt as a high-school recruit. They understand that.”

Q: What about Michigan sports?

A: “I’m very encouraged we’ve got Brady Hoke in the fray. I think he’s really going to bring back that tradition, that passion and that winning spirit that we’re used to. For the basketball program, it was great for us to make it to the tournament this year. It’s unfortunate that we’re going to lose Darius Morris, just like we lost Manny Harris the year before.

“The key is to continue to turn out those top-notch players, and hopefully we’re going to be able to do that soon so that when we’re watching these top-flight high-school games, and we see the list of schools (the high-school players) are considering, we need to be on that list.”

Q: How hard is it to give up the car?

A: “Being a Detroit native, you know how we can be about our automobiles. Riding up and down the Dream Cruise a couple of days a year means a lot to me that day, but then I’m going to park it for a year. I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years. So you’ve got to be someone who says, ‘I’m not going to be a hoarder. I’m not to talk about it. I’m going to be about it.’ That was the first step in not only promoting the school, but kicking off the fund-raising. It hurt to see her go.”

The auction for the car can be viewed in advance http://bit.ly/GeneralLeeAuction4JRLA

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Jalen Rose throws out the first pitch prior to the start of the game between the Royals and the Tigers at Comerica Park. / Leon Halip/Getty Images