Thursday night, ESPN placed NBA analyst Jalen Rose on the call of Michigan's game against Illinois. Rose has quite the history at ESPN. There's his DUI arrest, calling black players at Duke "Uncle Toms", and creation of a fantastical documentary about his own Fab Five team at Michigan that ESPN was more than happy to use to feed its endless hype and debate machine. Nevermind all those issues that Jalen Rose brings to the table for the moment... let's just consider his announcing capabilities in the booth and his EPIC performance last night.
Rose's performance as a game analyst puts him somewhere in the Torry Holt category. Here's the first of Jalen's greatest hits from last night thanks to Guyism. He either simply doesn't grasp the meaning of this cliche, or he really does think Michael Wilbon is dead...
"Nothwestern has never made the NCAA Tournament? Michael Wilbon is rolling over in his grave."
If that's supposed to be ironic, Jalen Rose really needs to work on his voice infliction and comedic timing. Then, near the end of the game with Michigan on their way to a victory, Rose decided to serenade the Illini like he was on the Michigan radio broadcast. Forget his awful, awful singing for just a moment. (He's not going to be recording any duets with Adele anytime soon.) Rose is a Michigan alum. If I was an Illini fan or a fan of common sense, I'd be insulted by any analyst doing this unless it was Don Meredith. I get what ESPN was trying to do with Rose (Michigan alum) and Stephen Bardo (Illinois alum) on the telecast, but Bardo is a professional that covers college basketball full time and doesn't break out his Illinois pom poms.
Maybe Rose would sing the losing team to sleep in any game (I hope not), but this kind of homerism, intended or not, is hard to watch on a national broadcast...
And that's not all! Here's more classic Jalen Rose from Twitter...
Jalen Rose is trying to talk about what it takes to win a Big Ten title. One problem: He never won one.— Alex Bozich (@insidethehall) March 2, 2012
Jalen Rose just said "Teddy Valentine is one of my favorite officials." Sounds about right.— Dave Biddle (@davebiddle) March 2, 2012
Now Jalen Rose is shouting in the booth. Even Stephen A. Smith thinks he needs to pop a few bars of Xanax and simmer down.— The Bill Walton Trip (@NotBillWalton) March 2, 2012
Jalen Rose's struggle to not pronounce Illinois as "Illinoise" each time is good TV.— Brady Green (@Brady_Green) March 2, 2012
Jalen Rose quoted Young Jeezy n used everyday im hustlin and lookin like a fool when your pants on the ground in the last 5 miuntes #brutal— Dan Cladis (@Cladpiece13) March 2, 2012
Needless to say, it was a "fabulous" all around performance that actually makes me wish ESPN would put Jalen Rose in the broadcast booth more often.