Grant Hill Takes Offense With Fab Five

Did Jalen Rose cross a line in the documentary?

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Grant Hill Takes Offense With Fab Five

In case you didn’t catch it, ESPN aired their newest documentary this past Sunday night about the Fab Five. The Fab Five were five premier high school players that were recruited by Michigan. They were young, talented and took the college basketball world by storm during their time there. They made such an impression that a documentary about their impact was all but guaranteed at some point.

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a reflection about one of the most influential group of athletes of their time turned into one big controversy as ESPN analyst and former member of the Fab Five Jalen Rose took the documentary as an opportunity to verbally attack Duke and every black player that attended there in the early 90’s, calling them "Uncle Toms."

"I hated Duke and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms," Rose said in the documentary.

As expected, many has taken exception to these comments, most notably the Phoenix Suns Grant Hill who attended Duke during the Fab Five days. Hill’s offense at Rose’s comments were so strong that he wrote a response letter that was published in the NY Times. In this letter, he calls Jalen’s comment ‘pathetic’.

Hill wrote “It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me”

Hill went on to bash Rose’s statements and the understanding of the man who made them.

“In his garbled but sweeping comment that  “Duke only recruits black 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.”

The best line from the letter, however, was the ending line, in which Hill took a final shot at the Fab Five.

“I try to live my life as a good husband and father. I am proud of my family. I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates. And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.”

For the full, unedited letter, go to It is an insightful and educated response to comments made out of an obvious jealousy and ignorance.