Jalen Rose thought Duke basketball was full of 'Uncle Toms,' plus more on his Fab Five documentary
Jalen Rose played on the Fab Five teams at Michigan.
Now he’s helped produce a documentary about the college basketball program that created a culture shift in basketball with black socks and baggy pants. The film premieres Sunday night (ESPN, 9 p.m.).
“This will be the Bible of the Fab Five story,” Rose said on a teleconference Tuesday afternoon. “ We really went in-depth about everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, the scandal.”
Movies have been made and books have been written about the Fab Five but Rose believes this is a more complete telling of their saga, with a rare Michigan interview of former Wolverines coach Steve Fisher, along with an interview with Ed Martin’s son, Carlton.
Ann Arbor News file photo
The film, which had a rough cut length of 1 hour, 37 minutes in a screener provided to AnnArbor.com, were at points insightful and at other times explosive.
This was proven when the Fab Five — four of them, actually, as Chris Webber declined to be interviewed for the film — talked about playing Duke as freshmen. The Blue Devils were the No. 1 team in the country.
"Duke was the opposite of what we did," Rose said in the teleconference. "...It was like two forces of nature, like good versus evil."
And the Fab Five hated the Blue Devils.
“For me, Duke was personal. I hated Duke and I hated everything I felt Duke stood for,” Rose says in the film. “Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.”
“The faces of Duke, I didn’t like them,” Jimmy King said.
“I hated Duke. I hated Duke,” Ray Jackson said.
“Coach K, you have Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, yeah, they winning and keep in mind they won a championship the year before," Juwan Howard said. "I respect that but we are talented, too.”
“I was jealous of Grant Hill. He came from a great black family, congratulations,” Rose said. “Your mom went to college and was roommates with Hillary Clinton. Your dad played in the NFL, is 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.”
A lot of the hate was directed toward Laettner, who was considered the best player on the Duke team and was often the catalyst when people pointed out what they didn’t like about Duke.
“Duke was like America’s team and Christian Laettner was like God and I didn’t like him,” Howard said.
“I thought Christian Laettner was soft,” King said.
“Overrated,” Jackson said.
“Pretty boy,” Howard said.
Others had more disparaging words for the former Duke standout not suitable for using here.
Rose said Tuesday he respects Duke's program and its coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
The film also covered the recruitment of each Fab Five member and broke down what happened during the fabled Webber timeout call during the 1993 championship game against North Carolina.
Rose also discussed an incident in which he was caught hanging out in a supposed Detroit crack house as well as the Ed Martin payment scandal that concluded with NCAA violations - ones that eventually forced Michigan to take down the Fab Five’s Final Four banners and store them in the Bentley Historical Library.
It also showed some of the hate-filled letters the Fab Five received from Michigan alumni and others decrying what the Fab Five stood for.
"The most explosive part of the film is that it just had brutal honesty from beginning to end," Rose said.