2004: COLLEGE BOUND MAGAZINE: Jalen Knows
June 23, 2008
December 2004 — The University of Michigan’s (Flint, MI) "Fab Five"
basketball squad delivered victory, style, grace, charisma, and
attitude to college basketball fans nationwide. Guard JALEN ROSE led
the pack. Now playing for the Toronto Raptors, Jalen proves that though
his college days are over, he’ll never stop learning.
Jalen Rose has no problem singing his own praises — he’s a confident
guy. In fact, the Fab Five were notorious for their boastful antics.
But right after Jalen reminisces with me about what amazing
trendsetters the Fab Five were, he goes on to explain that everybody is
capable of accomplishing great things like the Five.
His deal? We all have the potential to turn heads — it’s just a matter
of how badly we want it. Is that bragging? I’m not sure, because
instead of making me feel like I was contending with his ego, Jalen
made me want to hang up the phone and tackle my own personal goals.
"One of the biggest misconceptions about the Fab Five was that we came
from elite high schools," he says. "The truth is, we went to public
schools, and we were all honors students. College is all about being
academically able, and Michigan is not one of those schools where
you’re going to pass because you have a good jump shot."
Fortunately for Michigan, Jalen scored high marks as both an athlete
and an academe. He took his hard-hitting study ethic and his great jump
shot to college and kept the streak going. "I was a dean’s list student
who took pride in academics," he explains. "In fact, I’m still a
student." He’s currently taking courses from the University of Maryland
(College Park, MD).
Superstar Jalen’s hunger for success keeps him busy and motivated. "I
try to be one of the athletes who still practices his craft while he’s
doing his craft," he explains. "I studied radio/film/TV communications
at school, and I always knew I wanted to be part of that world as well.
[So], in addition to playing sports, I’ve been on a ton of shows [and
movies] like Fox News, TNT with CHARLES BARKLEY, ‘Barbershop’ with ICE
CUBE, and rap videos."
Not only does Jalen’s drive to succeed help himself — it helps others.
He founded The Jalen Rose Foundation to benefit at-risk youth.
"We run tons of events to help young kids and keep them focused," he
says. "In addition to the Read to Achieve [program] and a winter coat
drive, my foundation gives out five full scholarships for public school
students to attend college each year."
And the scholarships, like Jalen’s college experience, are based on
brains, not ball skills. "Times have changed since your mom and dad
came up," he says. "If you don’t have the proper paperwork, skills,
degree, trade, whatever — you’re stuck. You have to put yourself in a
situation where you have choices, whatever your goals are."
And though he’s one of the most famous college athletes of the ’90s,
Jalen keeps his feet on the ground — unless he’s on the court, of
"I like to stay in touch with fans," he says. "There is a little kid
inside of me who wants to be available and involved. I remember when I
was a kid, I wrote to a few of my favorite athletes and they weren’t
always proactive in getting back to me. I wonder what would have
happened if they had — what that would have done to me."
Well, it probably would have inspired Jalen, just like speaking with
him did to me — and hopefully, what reading about him does for you.
by Paul D. Rosevear