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2006: HOOP Magazine – Bank Shot: How the NBA Handles Its Business

June 23, 2008

Hoop_mag3.JPGFebruary 2006 — College Assistance… Jalen Rose is a believer in higher learning. So much that he’s putting money on it.

JALEN ROSE remembers walking through the halls at the University of
Michigan and reading the names of those generous types who had endowed
scholarships for financially disadvantaged students. "I wanted to be
one of those names up there," he says.

Well, he has his wish and then some. Not only has Rose endowed a
scholarship at UM, he has also helped 15 other students achieve their
dream of going to college. And he isn’t about to stop. In fact, Rose’s
generosity seems to know few bounds. He has been so active in his
efforts that Black Enterprise named him one of America’s Leading Black
Philanthropists. That’s a designation that gives him tremendous
satisfaction.

"It means something to be a philanthropist," Rose says. "Fame and money
are nice, but when I saw those names on the scholarship lists, I
realized how much they were doing for people."

Through his Jalen Rose Foundation, the Raptors’ swingman has been
pretty busy. In addition to contributing $240,000 to Michigan to fund a
scholarship that gives $10,000 for four years to a student – preferably
from an urban area or minority group – Rose has funded five other
$10,000 grants to students for three consecutive years. He also made a
$50,000 donation, to be split between Big Brothers/Big Sisters and The
Child Welfare League of America, to help in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina. Rose is also active through the Raptors, providing game
tickets for youth groups and giving money to charity for each assist he
registers. Rose has raised money for other charities, most of which
help children.

"Philanthropy comes from the heart," Rose says. "When you give your
energy to the cause, you want others to see you care about the issues
and join in. You have to do it for the right reasons."

Rose is particularly energized about his ability to assist young people
who are hoping to improve their lives through education. When he speaks
to students, he tells them that their eight most important years are
high school and college. If the can stay away from bad influences and
complete their education, the have the opportunity to do great things.
He knows about what he speaks. Rose grew up in a tough part of Detroit
and worked hard in the classroom and on the court to create
opportunities for himself. He was an honors student at Southwestern
High School, but his mother would not have been able to afford the
tuition and fees necessary for him to make it to the Ann Arbor campus.

By funding scholarships and continuing to do so, he is building future leaders whom he hopes will give back to the community.

"Being educated will open up doors that you cannot imagine," Rose says.
"When you grow up in certain neighborhoods, you’re only exposed to what
happens there. When you go to college, you are exposed to diverse
opportunities and people you wouldn’t have met. It helps kids mature
into young men and women."

When Black Enterprise designated him one of the top African-American
philanthropists, Rose was particularly charged up. That put him in the
category with people like Oprah Winfrey and BET founder (and Bobcats
owner) Robert Johnson. He’ll always have his NBA experience on the
resume, but Rose wants to be credited for more.

"It’s one thing to be known for being an athlete, but not everybody
watches sports," Rose says. "When you’re done, all you have is what
you’ve done today."

"I understand that and always try to be more than just an athlete. I
want to be a renaissance man, like my mentors, Magic Johnson, Larry
Bird and Isiah Thomas."

He’s well on his way.

By Michael Bradley