Two issues here…
First, kudos to Grant Hill and his eloquent response. I did a piece once with Hill and Joe Dumars during Grant’s rookie year with the Pistons and came away extremely impressed with how Grant Hill carried himself. He was a lot more mature than many of his contemporaries playing the game at that time, save for the man who took him under his wing that rookie season, Joe Dumars himself, as they were equals.
Second, when I hear ESPN and the words “executive producer”, I have to harken back to my days as a producer on the SportsCentury series. I once helped produce a show on the great Bonnie Blair for SportsCentury and when it was pretty much in the can, the “executive producer” came back and said, “doesn’t she have any dirt on her?” I go back on him and say, “this is Bonnie Blair you’re talking about. She probably has never had a bad thought in her life, let alone done anything bad.” And he comes back to me and says (are you sitting down?)…“then why did we do a show on her?” i was left speechless, but finally realized, after doing shows for almost two years, their true motive. To dig up dirt and ratchet up the ratings. ESPN loves this stuff. Whether Jalen Rose really meant to say this and put this in the show, because that is what he and his other Fab Five folks thought back when they were in college themselves, one can only guess. But I can certainly see where there were a ton of suits running around the hallways in Bristol, CT saying, “oh you have to tell us this and we have to put it in the show, it will be great”.
I personally have to find the show again and go back and listen to Jalen’s comments to see for myself whether it was something he believed back in the day or if it’s something that he still feels today. My feeling is that because he took the extra steps to contact Grant and his parents prior to the show’s release, that there was some pressure from above that made sure Jalen told that story and made sure it did not hit the cutting room floor.
FTR, I don’t know Jalen Rose, though I’ve met him a few times before. Seemed fairly quiet and reserved to me, which is not saying anything good or bad about him. But I can speak on both Chris Webber and Juwan Howard who were always very cordial to me and who I felt always carried themselves very well as professional athletes. I think when you get a group of like-minded kids together, their personal beliefs sometimes come from group beliefs, sort of a peer pressure thing, and maybe this was what was going on during their days as the Fab Five. Because once they got to the NBA and were on their own, so to say, I saw none of the Fab Five behavior, which is why the three of them had long and successful pro careers.