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2007, September: PHX TIMES: Rose Dribbles into the Community

June 24, 2008

September 2007 — Summer is typically a time for professional athletes
to kick back, heal injuries, restructure contracts and take vacations
with family and friends. Not so for NBA star Jalen Rose. Since Rose’s
NBA season with the Phoenix Suns ended prematurely on May 18 after
being defeated in the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs, it has been a
non-stop whirlwind of media appearances, community involvement,
free-agent talks and work on the ever-growing JalenRose.com.

Rose’s goal through 13 NBA seasons has been clear: strive for the
elusive NBA championship on the court, while maintaining a wildly
successful life off the court in the worlds of broadcasting,
philanthropy and the World Wide Web.

"My basketball season doesn’t officially end until after the NBA draft,
because I’ve been fortunate enough to work with ESPN on the NBA Finals
and the draft," Rose says. It doesn’t end with providing commentary and
his expert opinion, either.

Rose appears regularly on Fox’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period and
ESPN’s Cold Pizza. He does radio work through various sports radio
outlets nationwide, including regular stints with Sporting News Radio.
Rose is even a seasoned interviewer, recently taking to the red carpet
to interview celebrities, entertainers and athletes for ESPN’s ESPY
Awards broadcast.

"I’ve had a unique opportunity that most athletes don’t have, to be
able to do both [basketball and broadcasting] throughout my entire
career, so I got real lucky with that," Rose says.

In the short time between the Suns’ playoff ousting and the draft, Rose
crisscrossed the nation with over 75 TV and radio appearances.

"Being really the first active guy to be able to do something like that
felt really good. I’m just riding the momentum," Rose says.

The day after the draft was no different. Rose was in Connecticut in
the morning with ESPN, later making his way to New York and Phoenix
before ultimately landing in Las Vegas.

As if the jetlag and lack of sleep weren’t enough, Rose is constantly
taking steps to make JalenRose.com a multimedia powerhouse.

"I want [the site] to stay active and current. A lot of times, when you
talk about your favorite athlete or entertainer, he might have a Web
site, but it’s not either one of those things," Rose says laughing.

A regularly updated personal blog, archives of media appearances and
news are just the standard features. Rose is "taking it to the next
level" with a personally designed Web browser and his newest project,
JalenTV.com. Rose is not only using the site as an archive of personal
media clips, but also hopes to launch a full-on news and talk webcast.

"It’s like ESPN or MSNBC," Rose says. "{I want to create the same type
of entity online with Jalen TV – current events, interviews with people
from all walks of life and webcasts.{"

The amazing thing about Rose – despite all of his accomplishments,
money and fame – is that he has remained the same person he was growing
up in his hometown of Detroit. His connection with his fans is
unparalleled, offering multiple ways to stay in touch on his Web site.
His almost reserved personality is a stark contrast from most NBA
stars. He remains deeply involved in the Detroit community.

"Being from Detroit, I obviously want to give back to those that did a
lot to help build me as a player both on and off the floor," Rose says.

Perhaps his proudest charitable achievement is his scholarship program
at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. Rose provides five
$10,000 scholarships annually to Detroit-area high school seniors,
designating at least one to UM. Additionally, the Jalen Rose Foundation
has endowed a scholarship each year at UM.

Rose also sets up the Rose Garden each season (regardless of what team
he’s playing for), giving away 20 tickets for each home game to
underprivileged children.

"Jalen has done so much and is a great role model," says Cassidy
Kersten, community relations manager for the Suns. Jamie Morris LeVine,
public relations director for the Suns, adds that the Rose Garden gave
away nearly $20,000 worth of tickets during the 2006-07 season.

While he has just packed up his Phoenix condo, don’t expect him to slow
down any time soon. This 34-year-old swingman has no plans to hang up
the sneakers just yet.

Whether he’ll be in a Suns uniform next season or not, Rose says, "I
still feel excited to have the opportunity to play and compete and to
try to win a championship. I have the health to keep doing it, so I’m
going to keep going and we’ll see what happens. For me, the sky is the
limit."

– Si Robins