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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Everybody Loves Grant Hill

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm
This past Sunday, in a stroke of entertainment genius fused with sublime timing, ESPN premiered its first documentary following  the completion of its heralded 30/30 series. “The Fab Five”, a thorough chronicling of the University of Michigan’s  groundbreaking 1991 freshman basketball class, since its premiere, generally has been perceived as a excellent, abet noticeably long work.  While intense in focus, wide in range, and candidly honest in a way ESPN is not known for, much of the documetary’s praise has been obscured by the fallout from one of the films  executive producers and Fab Five Member Jalen Rose.

When  the subject of traditional college basketball powerhouse and rival Duke discussed, Rose unabashedly divulged his two decades old teenage thoughts on Duke’s recruiting practices concerning Black players specifically, Grant Hill

“Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt that they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms. … I was jealous of Grant Hill. He came from a great black family. Congratulations. Your mom went to college and was roommates with Hillary Clinton. Your dad played in the NFL as a very well-spoken and successful man. I was upset and bitter that my mom had to bust her hump for 20-plus years. I was bitter that I had a professional athlete that was my father that I didn’t know. I resented that.”

While not as curt as Jimmy King’s comments on Hill, or his own on Christian Laettner for that matter, Rose’s  set off a firestorm of controversy on matters of race, and the alleged inverse scale of blackness and education.

Understandably offend by Rose’s statements, Grant Hill expressed his views on the brewing controversy he was pulled via a article he crafted for the New York Times.

After initially granting the Fab Five for there accomplishments and comparing them to the John Thompson’s Georgetown teams that proceeded them, Hill lunged into vicious written retaliations encased in articulate icingHill found it “pathetic” that they would call him (and a teammate of his) a bitch and view Black Players that chose to attend Duke “Uncle Toms”, felt Rose disparaged his parents  “for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me”.

He also crafted an assumption unbefitting of a Duke graduate:
“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.”

After divulging some personal family history, and understandably subjective views on the Duke basketball program he returns to the refrain that: To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous”

Hill’s response and the widespread praise toward it are troubling  on a couple of fronts. First, Hill erroneously states that Rose disparaged his parents “for their high levels of educational attainment, hard work and commitment to family.”Rose did nothing of the sort

He simply stated that he was jealous of Grant Hill’s upbringing, which by his very admission of said weak emotion, is by default commendable and honest expression that Rose desired the life Hill had up to that point.

No where can it be found where Rose stated that Hill’s education or commitment to preserving a nuclear family made them somehow less Black.

Hill’s expansion of his false inference, into a falsely misguided theory into what Jalen Rose’s idea of what a “Uncle Tom” is by far the most troubling, even dangerous part of his piece.

Rose stated that he felt at the time Duke only recruited sellouts. If one is truly honest with themselves when viewing the omnipresent juxtaposition of the Duke teams of that era against their blacker elite counterparts of the day, and Duke’s recruiting history, it will become readily apparent why a 17,18,19 year old Jalen Rose would feel as he did about the Duke program.

The fact that teams like UNLV and U of M during the Fab Five era, where routinely looked upon as “thuggish”, evil  and “everything that is wrong with the game”, was not lost upon Black America. Much of the resentment spawned by slanderous media descriptions eventually and some would say naturally, was turned toward Duke who constantly were portrayed as the angelic alternative to “thug ball”. Saviours of the game, who just happened to have a predominately White roster sprinkled Black players who didn’t look like they were from or would fit in comfortably in the neighborhood.

Simply put most of Black America, via living vicariously through teams like the Fab Five, saw Duke as the enemy, and their hatred of the Blue Devils as an repudiation stereotypical, bias, and latent to  outright racist descriptions the teams they followed, and themselves by association.

Given such sporting/cultural reality, is it incomprehensible as to why Black people  (and Black players such as Rose) would view Black who chose to play basketball for Duke as sellouts?

Parental Psychology  will tell you that its more than possible for radical activists to unintentionally  rear sellout kids and those on the forefront of the struggle for Civil Rights to raise children who grow revere the dollar and despise those whom they share a like complexion with.

Point Being

The actions, success or lack thereof of a persons parents or guardian have no bearing on the measure if a particular person is a “Uncle Tom” or not. Such a powerful description is earned own its on.

Duke, as it was far within its rights in doing, did and continues to recruit a particular type of Black basketball player, and by design or pure happenstance maintains a predominately White roster which is often laden preeminent White college basketball stars of the day.

While many struggle to describe what type of Black player Duke refuses to recruit (inner city, troubled, non affluent) it needs to be known that  there is a vast territory between stereotypically insanely ignorant views of what “blackness” entails and the perceived whole hearted assimilation and abandonment Black Players for Duke are seen to typify to some.

Jalen Rose’s well aged and much evaporated views of Duke’s basketball program where understandable, but far to sweeping and generalized to be deemed fair.  Grant Hill’s response regardless of how much praise it receives, is far more troubling than Rose’s twenty year old sentiments, due to its lack of understanding, and false correlating.
Its funny how the past remains with us
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