Posts Tagged ‘Uncle Tom’

The time away from the blog has done me well in terms of refocusing and re-aligning my priorities as an entrepreneur, author, husband, father and a minister.  Deep introspective reflection has brought about a new zest and zeal for the small things in life: Basketball.

As the season of spring emerges, so comes the ascent of vegetation, fruit and flowers.  Typically, this season sheds new light on debris, dirt and trash that was the result of the winter.

It is also during this time that sports junkies prepare for March Madness – the NCAA basketball tournament that crowns a national champion at its completion.  It is fitting, at this particular time, that ESPN airs the famous Fab Five on its 30-for-30 series.

Aside from the fact that the Fab Five represent a cultural phenomenon that impacted and changed the game of basketball, they also accomplished the incredulous feat all while donning jerseys bearing the name of an elitist institution.

Never before, or since, has a team of underclassmen led a Division 1 institution to two back-to-back NCAA finals.  With the increase of “one-and-done” college players, we can be certain to never experience this again.

Being a native Detroiter (45 miles east of University of Michigan), I grew up around the game of basketball where my peers included Terry Mills, Derrick Coleman and teammate Willie Burton.  As did Jalen Rose and Chris Webber, I too spent countless summers at St. Cecilia’s and other popular basketball venues.  However, it was not until I went to college that I learned the true value of education and the respect for those who attained the same.

During the 30-for-30 episode, Jalen Rose referred to Grant Hill and other Black Duke University recruits as “Uncle Tom’s.”  Jalen’s comments about Grant (and his family) were, in my opinion, very ill-stated.  We must remember that not only did Grant inherit the infamous tag of being the next “Jordan,” to this day, he continues to epitomize class, grace, humility and leadership.  Born of a famous football player and professional mother, Grant was afforded and ensured an advantage that many of us strongly seek for our children today.

To suggest that all Black Duke players were “Uncle Toms” is a gross generalization, in my estimation.  For those of you who may be unaware, being labeled an Uncle Tom is nothing short of a compliment (See The Uncle Tom In Me).

I applaud, Jalen, Chris and Grant for their feats on and off the court.  I also appreciate their perspectives on life and the game of basketball.  Each one of them, in their way, has helped to shape Black culture and the game of basketball as we know it today.