Jalen Rose: True Grit, Pt 2

AHHA: What’s the funniest thing that a heckler has ever said to you?

Jalen: ‘Who’s your daddy?’ - because my daddy, for NBA fans, was the number-one pick in the 1967 draft, a guy named Jimmy Walker. Anybody that knows that also knows that I’ve never met him still to this day. Hopefully we’ll meet. I guess if I go knock on his door and I’m standing there when the doorbell rings I’ll meet him. I guess I’m willing to do that because I don’t have any hard feelings. It’s not like I’m unhappy with my life or I’m living under a freeway. He did give me this direct seed and talent, I give him credit for that. That’s probably one of the craziest things fans say when they try to get personal.

AHHA: What do you think of And 1 basketball players?

Jalen: I think they work hard. Basketball is just like rap, everybody has their element. It’s kinda like I don’t buy Will Smith CDs, but I go see his movies - but when I talk about great rappers he’ll never come up. Them brothers got a talent at not only playing streetball, but it’s hard doing them damn tricks. For anybody that plays ball, you think that because you’re Clyde Frazier you can be on the Harlem Globetrotters, that ain’t true. [And] just because you on the Harlem Globetrotters, that don’t mean you could be Clyde Frazier. They put it down, I support them and watch it on TV. I actually play with a streetball legend in Rafer Alston. My favorite streetball player right now is probably Hot Sauce.

AHHA: Does the NBA allow you guys to discuss the failure of the WNBA?

Jalen: You could say anything you wanna say, at least I can. I’m a basketball fan so I root for the WNBA. I don’t know if [it ’s] because of marketing or if the masses haven’t gravitated totally to professional women’s sports.

AHHA: Do you think that there’s anything they could do as far as changing the schedule that would be beneficial?

Jalen: I think it would be more beneficial to the WNBA if they find a way to tie in literally to the NBA and not keep it so totally separate. I ain’t sayin’ they should be a JV team, and then we come out there and play, but I think they should try to tie it in a little more.

AHHA: You do a lot of charity work. What’s been the best part of participating in the Raptors All-Star Reading Team, and then your efforts with your Jalen Rose Foundation?

Jalen: The best part of charity to me is it’s genuine. A lot of people come up to me and they say they wish more people did what I do charity-wise, or they tell me how much they appreciate what I do. I tell them charity comes from the heart. Just because you got a big contract, you had a good game last night and you got a famous face, don’t make you charitable. Charity to me is always to lend a helping hand. I’d like to use the term, ‘Everybody needs somebody to put ‘em in the game’. Wherever you work you needed somebody to hire you. Whenever you play you need the coach to put you in the game, you need a teammate to pass you the ball. It all ties in together, so the best part for me is to do what I’m supposed to do which is to lend a helping hand.

I’m a God fearing man - that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m just blessed, so I try to do what I can to bless others, because I know what it’s like not to have. Me not having doesn’t make me charitable either. For example, the disaster with Hurricane Katrina… let me give you an analogy. You could help more than just giving money. You could give clothes, time and energy - you could help carry the supplies to the people in need. It’s always ways to help.

AHHA: You DJ in pretty much every city you play for. What’s your favorite city to spin in?

Jalen: Toronto is my favorite city to spin in, ‘cause really when you a DJ it’s all about the club. It ain’t really all about where it’s at or who’s saying what or who’s there. It’s about the atmosphere, the day, the sound, the lights. It’s all on the crowd, but the first thing that comes to my mind when I say music is New York. Straight up, that’s the only place I’m getting off the airplane and I’m jumping in a towncar:‘Yo, put on the radio. Lemme see what [Funkmaster] Flex and Wendy [Williams] talking bout’. That’s the only place that’s like that. I must give it up, New York is the mecca for me when it comes to that music.

AHHA: Are you a record collector? Do you crate dig?

Jalen: I’m a big time record collector. The great thing about my record collection is that technology rules now. As much as I’m old school, I still kinda warm up to the scratching on the CDs and the big computer monitor where you can type in and get the songs. I’m warming up to that, but it ain’t nothin like that wax.

AHHA: What would you say is your favorite record that you’ve found or discovered?

Jalen: They got big breakbeat type records, it depends on the crowd. We can go anywhere from Debarge to “Rapper’s Delight”, from Run DMC to Jadakiss. The music don’t stop. The great thing I love about actually being from Detroit is we had Motown, which is a soul feeling in music - but I grew up in the Hip-Hop generation. Just as much as I know about Young Jeezy, I know about Jill Scott. Just as much as I know about Cassidy, I know about Alicia Keys and can appreciate it.

AHHA: Have there been any up and coming artists that you’ve heard about that maybe nobody else knows about yet?

Jalen: Right now I can’t say one, and being a DJ and being a big time music fan and having so many friends in the music industry, artist development is one thing I never actively pursued. When I’m with Beanie Sigel and I’m hanging out it ain’t because I’m trying to get in and put my artist on. I don’t wanna have an artist and I don’t wanna rap, I love it too much to rap. I’ve been around dopeness, how I’m a rap? I done sat up and kicked it with Biggie before. How the hell I’m a rap? Even if I was dope I ain’t dope when I done been around it. I done been to East Islip to the boondocks and sat up with Erick [Sermon] and Parrish Smith for days, and Redman when they was trying to bring him out, and Keith Murray when he was young - K-Solo, Das EFX, Naughty. The great thing about playing sports for me is that I got a chance to run with all the people I love in Hip-Hop.

AHHA: Do you have any video cameos coming up that people should know about?

Jalen: All of those cameos happened out of love. When I’m in Luda’s video that’s because I’m in ATL and Shaka Zulu’s calling. I was about to be in Sheek’s “Kiss That Ass Goodbye” video, but I left town before it happened. I’m going to be in the new Mashonda video, me and Treach. I had to show the versatility. I ain’t just a cutthroat hardcore killer. I get down with the chicks too.

AHHA: Considering you have a degree in communications, do you intend to break into broadcasting or an analyst job after your NBA days?

Jalen: I’m lucky and I’m blessed that I’m already into it, I’m already doing appearances on James Brown’s radio show, and I’m getting my own show - and they pay me actually to do that. I’ll be on ESPN’s Cold Pizza and they pay me to do that, I [was] on The Best Damn Sports Show. I’m not a guest anymore, I’m a host. I’ve actually covered events like boxing, I’ve covered the NBA Finals for Fox the last three years. I done been on with Bill Walton, Snapper Jones, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. That’s where I say I got lucky, because a lot of times when you go to college as kid when you dream or you pursue something, that’s not necessarily what you get a chance to actively do. The things that I actually went after are things that I can apply and I still do.

AHHA: What can people expect to see from you in the next three or four months?

Jalen: The next three or four months the season’s about to start. Really it’s gonna be about basketball first and foremost. Unfortunately, right now I’m not on a team that’s picked to win a championship by no stretch of the imagination, so basically I gotta grind and be a pro about it. I’m gonna do the best I can and lead the guys that I play with, because I’m the captain of the team. I’m blessed to embrace the situation that I’m in. Am I jealous of San Antonio? Yeah, I want a championship, but I know I’m about to be playin’ about five or six more years, so I’ma lean back. Then when I get the championship or whatever I’m trying to accomplish, then I’m gonna go sit up in somebody’s executive chair like Isiah [Thomas] is doing, like Larry Bird is doing. I’ma try and put me a team together while I’m listening to Lloyd Banks or whatever.