Wilbon on Jalen Rose & Grant Hill

Submitted by StephenRKass on March 17th, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Michael Wilbon has an article at ESPN on Jalen Rose & Grant Hill. (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=6227464.) I am not sure what I think of the column. However, from Wilbon's perspective, there isn't a huge difference between where Jalen and Grant are today.

Wilbon also has some good observations on how black culture is not monolithic, and how the "Uncle Tom" debate is centuries old, and one that blacks have every day. He writes,

Still, except for the part where Calvin and Janet Hill were left hanging out there, depicted as anything other than the model parents that they are, the documentary and Grant Hill's response is part of a very necessary conversation, one which plays out in what I like to call Black World every hour of every single day in this country and has for the past 400 years. It sure as hell didn't start with basketball players; it started with the resentment that field niggas had for house niggas, and there will be no sanitizing of the term here because the feelings were even more raw than the language. It's a conversation most, though not all, white folks are unfamiliar with, one Spike Lee captured with both insight and humor in his movie "School Daze" including the differences between "good" and "bad" hair, and "talking" white. These are the primary elements of emotional and at times painful discussions that take place, sometimes between members of the same family, one set of children whose father bailed and the other set whose dad stayed and provided a life that in time led to an entirely different reality.

If you're interested in this whole topic, I'd encourage you to take a look, although it is a bit long.



March 17th, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

The problem here is that Jalen Rose was talking about how he felt as an eighteen year old and Grant Hill more-or-less responded as if Rose was talking about how he felt now. 

Also, when did Rose attack Hill's parents?  Rose's point was that he was jealous of Hill having those parents. 

Did I miss some prouncement whereby people get to act like Jalen Rose did things to them that he didn't do?  In that case, Jalen, why did you steal my dog?  I loved that dog! 


Waters Demos

March 17th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

but I think Rose could have been less equivocal in distancing his current adult views from his former views.

The First Take interview created some ambiguity IMHE.  E.g., he talks of Duke recruits like Hill in a pejorative sense, referring to them as the "elites," while noting that Duke still wouldn't recruit someone like Rose himself, who had to boil water to bathe in, etc... while Hill et al. presumably had it all.  I interpret this as Rose conferring some form of authenticity upon himself while denying it from players like Hill. 

While I think Hill altogether failed to make the distinction between Rose's/King's former and current views, the conversation in this particular context could legitimately be had in the ambiguities left by Rose and King. 


March 17th, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

I agree that Rose could have made it more clear when he had those feelings. Personally, I took it that he had those feelings then and not now, but I don't see how he was anything other than respectful of the upbringing Hill had. I think he went out of his way to say that "Duke would recruit my kids." and talk about the differences between Hill's father and his own.

I think it took a big, big man to admit this, years later; especially because admitting it means admitting he was wrong back in the day.

Section 1

March 17th, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

"Hey, what's the big deal?  My father went to Yale and played in the NFL.  Jalen's father went to Providence and played in the NBA..."

Anyway, it was only a matter of time before Michael Wilbon poured his gasoline on this fire shared his thoughts in an online column.









March 17th, 2011 at 6:30 PM ^

First of all Hill could never say that. The two fathers are completely different and in the grander scheme of the childrens lives are incomparable.

Did you actually read the Wilbon piece? Or, did you just casually say he poured gasoline on the fire because of preconceived notions about Wilbon himself?

Lets be honest, Wilbon isn't the greatest. However, if anything, that piece was a solid attempt to diffuse the situation and get to the core of the issue. A deeper and more serious issue I think.

Section 1

March 17th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

I even sailed past the warning that it contained language that many people would find offensive.  (I wouldn't repeat his language without my own warning, so I won't do it here.)

We both seem to be honest people, SoCal, and we'd both agree that "Wilbon isn't the greatest."  Since none of these guys are legislators, or judges, or corporate board members making important decisions, I don't think there's too much reason to get worked up about anything they say.

What is assuredly the case, is that all three of them are very interested in their respective careers as television and sports broadcasting personalities.  And when that's your business, rule number one is to respect your co-hosts and colleagues and producers, and rule number two is to say you're sorry when your publicist tells you to.

They are all in the same business now -- Rose, Hill, Wilbon -- and they are all looking out for how to best promote that.  I think it is like mixing martinis; they want 1 part controversial trash-talkin' for every 4 parts good lovin' sportstalk.


March 17th, 2011 at 6:49 PM ^

I think Wilbon went out of his way to be balanced for once.  His position must sorta suck.  I am willing to bet that every editor with a black writer decided it was that writer's "responsibility" to cover the story.  Basically, whether he wanted the assignment or not, every black sportswriter in the country has just become his outlet's "black spokesman" on this story.  

It's not fair, but that's the way it is.  Those who want to speak should be able to, but it is a lot of pressure to be seen as a spokesman for an entire race.  Wilbon may or may not have wanted this responsibility.  To be fair, I don't think Wilbon is one to shy away from controversial issues, and he probably relished the idea.  

All things considered, I was very impressed with Wilbon's column.  His schtick on PTI is light comedy/sports, but I thought his serious column on Rose and Hill was very well-concieved and well-executed.  Maybe Wilbon should try to write seriously more often.  

I don't have a link, but Darrell Dawsey in Mlive wrote what I feel is the best article on the controversy, at least as a Michigan fan.  While I like Dawsey's more, Wilbon's shows more depth.  Anyway, both are good reads.


March 17th, 2011 at 7:40 PM ^

it started with the resentment that field niggas had for house niggas, and there will be no sanitizing of the term here because the feelings were even more raw than the language.


A resentment that was introduced by slave-owners to keep slaves fighting one another instead of massing in protest against their masters. Light-skinned slaves were put in the house, dark-skinned folks were put in the fields.

Think of those completely artificial resentments remain today?

Instead of enjoying the fact that black kids today can look at Wilbon, Hill, and Jalen Rose and see three black men from different backgrounds all become learned, articulate and productive members of society, we're stuck in a "blacker than thou" pissing contest.