WLA’s Response to “Grant Hill’s Response to Jalen Rose by Grant Hill” by the WLA


“was”. “hated”. “hated”. “felt”. “hated”. “was”. “came”. “went”. “played”. “was”. “had to”. “was”. “resented”. “looked”.

These are the verbs that the four members of the Fab Five use during their description of their feelings towards Duke. What do all these verbs have in common? They are in the past tense. This is an elementary fact of grammar of which you would expect one who mentions his place in the “special” brotherhood of Duke graduates to be aware. Apparently, he is not.

Briefly, lets explain it to Mr. Hill, our lack of a Duke education an admitted flaw in our reasoning abilities.

Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard, and Ray Jackson are not expressing their current-day opinions of the Duke basketball team they faced. They are expressing the thoughts running through the minds of their then 18-year-old selves. There is a distinction between the words “I thought Christian Laettner was an over-rated pussy” and the words “I think Christian Laettner is an over-rated pussy”, especially when the past-tense version of the phrase is followed with the words “until I actually got on the floor with him and realized he had game.”

Hill’s focus, admittedly, isn’t on the comments about his white team mates, however, as much as it is on Rose’s comments about Duke’s recruiting practices, Hill’s family, and Hill himself. Nevermind, again, the verb tenses that, to any logical person, would signal that Rose is talking about a former thought process. Hill actually has some accusations to level at Rose:

calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms”

Again – past tense, Grant. They did not call you “a bitch” or black players at Duke “Uncle Toms”. They acknowledged, essentially, that if you asked them, when they were 18, about Duke, they WOULD HAVE said you were a bitch. What’s clear, when you listen to what Rose and Howard have to say, is that playing, and losing, three games against Duke disabused them of this notion.

Because Hill apparently likes to quote Latin, we’ll smugly refer him to the “pluperfect” tense.

and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me.

This is either mind-bogglingly ignorant or a willful lie. Rose’s first words are:

 “I was jealous of Grant Hill. He came from a great black family. Your mom went to college…Your dad played in the NFL. He was a very well-spoken and successful man.”

This is disparaging? It insults their work ethic? Their commitment to their children? It does none of these things. Hill’s offense is lunacy. Rose clarifies:

“I was upset and bitter that my mom had to bust her hump for twenty years. I was bitter that I had a professional athlete that was my father that I didn’t know. I resented THAT more than I resented him. I felt like they were who the world accepts, and we were who the world hates.”

How could this possibly be any more clear? Rose’s general “hatred” of Duke was not a hatred of Duke itself. Rose played on a club that endured weekly bludgeonings for being too “brash” or “street” from talking heads such as Jim Nantz and Bill Walton, and significantly worse in private letters. Hill and Duke, on the other hand, were universally loved by the press – much the same as they are now. Is it unreasonable to think that an 18-year old kid may see that as acceptance of Duke’s clean-cut image and rejection of his own? How unreasonable! Rose wasn’t upset at Duke – he was upset, like so many teenagers, because he didn’t feel he was accepted.

While his hatred of Duke in general wasn’t actually hatred of Duke, neither was his hatred of Hill actually a hatred of Hill – this much he makes explicit. Hill and Rose, in a novel, would be literary foils – both the lauded, athletic prodigies of former great athletes, thrown into drastically different circumstances. Rose’s anger is for his father, who failed to support him in the way Hill’s father supported him – not anger at Hill for being supported or for his father supporting him.

By referring to a somewhat eloquent point about the importance of a father-figure to a young man as “garbled”, Hill almost makes Rose’s points about “the world’s view” for him. Hill, seemingly, can’t see that Rose’s point is about fatherhood – not class-warfare.

As a matter of fact, Hill’s entire pretentious, thin-skinned column, larded with references to Chaucer, latin quotations, his father’s Yale education, “the Duke family” (most of which he’s careful to name-drop), does more to wound the image of Duke, and portray them as elitist more than any word out of Rose’s mouth during the documentary. He’s the guy smoking a pipe during Rush Week telling the freshmen how many former President’s of the US were in his fraternity. We do not suggest this to defend yourself from being called “exclusionary”.

23 thoughts on “WLA’s Response to “Grant Hill’s Response to Jalen Rose by Grant Hill” by the WLA

  1. I think Grant Hill suffered a stress fracture in his hand typing that editorial out

    He’ll be unavailable for the next 6 months recovering

  2. If you’re going to do a takedown based on someone’s misunderstanding of simple things like verb tense, you might want to be on top of your game: PAST tense. ;)

  3. This IS a pointless, stupid, and poorly written article. Hill was doing nothing more than defending himself, his family, and Duke. I do not like Duke at all, but at least one can at least get a good education at Duke. Michigan might need to find a better writer for these articles.


    Jee is a genie us! He saw write threw this and nose that this is a MICH web sight.

  5. You should really retitle this, as the WLA is not a hivemind, and does have Duke alumni in it.

  6. G, what part of this article makes you think that it was “poorly written”? And the article does have a point. Do you even understand what a “point” is?

    G, methinks you are so illiterate that you cannot even spell out your name.

  7. I don’t see any pluperfects in your article or the quotes from the movie. “My mom had to bust her butt” is the simple past. ‘My mom had had to bust her but, but then she got a better job’ illustrates the pluperfect.

    I’m just a U-M grad, but I did major in Latin.

    Also, screw Duke. And Hill’s piece was smug and had little to do with anything Jalen et al. said. He just took the chance to fight a different battle, promote Duke, and write a bunch of schmaltzy fluff about his family.

  8. I’d like to thank Grant for proving my point but he won’t take my calls without crying. It’s really annoying.

  9. Hey Newk
    The statement about the mother is in the pluperfect tense, but the circumstances of the utterance (informal speech produced during an interview) are such that Jalen doesn’t inflect the verbs to indicate it.

    His mother’s struggles are a long-past event, still relevant at the point in time (also in the past) of which he speaks.

    Long ago: Mother struggled.
    A shorter time ago: Jalen was resentful. [Mother’s struggles enjoy continuing relevance]

  10. Bang. I’m still a little agog at how jaw-droppingly dense Hill comes off in the NYT piece. How could anyone with a fully functioning cerebrum not understand that Rose & King were explaining how they felt in 199x?

  11. I wonder why Mr. Hill left out Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and Carlos Boozer from his name drop list?

  12. Mr. Mad Magician, if that is your real name, i’m shocked and disgusted at your language and your vile attempt to discredit and insult the Hill family.

    As my mother always said: E pluribus unum. Seize the day.

    Pursuant to your ignorant comment, I’d like to thank the Duke family, which includes other great Black leaders who are pillars in their community: Christian Laettner, Cherokee Parks, Bobby Hurley, JJ Reddick, Jay Bilas, Steve Wojciechowski, et al. I could go on and on.

  13. My kid has zero interest in organized sports, plenty of interest in academics. If he came to me and said, “Duke or Michigan,” I’d tell him to go to Michigan.

    It’s a better school, all the way around.

Comments are closed.