“The Fab Five,” ESPN’s much-anticipated documentary about the University of Michigan’s 1991-93 men’s basketball teams, debuted Sunday to much praise, but controversy came of it in the following days.
In the film, Fab Five member and former NBA star Jalen Rose discussed his disdain for the Duke University teams playing at the same time. Starring on those Duke teams was current Phoenix Sun Grant Hill, whom Rose had particular disdain for, citing jealousy of his middle-class, two-parent upbringing.
Rose referred to the Afriacan-American players recruited by Duke as “Uncle Toms.”
“Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me,” Rose said in the film. “I felt that they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.”
Hill took particular offense to these remarks and Jimmy King’s comment that Hill was a “bitch.” His response came in the form of a pointed letter for The New York Times. Here is an excerpt. The whole piece can be found here:
“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. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its premiere.”
Rose responded via Twitter in what some interpreted as a dismissive manner, seemingly explaining that those were his feelings at the time and not now. He went on suggest that people criticizing his remarks “quit crying.”
Hill seemed to get the last word though, delivering a subtle jab to conclude his NYT letter:
“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.”