Jalen Rose Goes After Phil Jackson’s Reasonable Commentary On NBA Becoming Too Political, Implies Jackson Is Racist

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On Saturday, Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson made headlines when he said he stopped watching the NBA because it became too political. That’s reasonable commentary since many Americans did exactly the same thing. But ESPN’s Jalen Rose is very mad at Jackson.

Why? Because Jalen Rose agrees with the NBA’s political messaging. So, if someone goes against that, they’re … ready for it? Racist.

“[The NBA] was trying to cater to an audience or trying to bring a certain audience to the game, and they didn’t know it was turning other people off,” Jackson said. “People want to see sports as non-political. Politics stays out of the game. It doesn’t need to be there.

“They had things on [the backs of their jerseys] like ‘Justice’ and a funny thing happened,” Jackson continued. “Like ‘Justice went to the basket and Equal Opportunity knocked him down’… Some of my grandkids thought it was pretty funny to play up those names. I couldn’t watch that.”

Rose doesn’t outwardly call Jackson a racist, but the implications are clear.

“The same Phil Jackson that won championships with some of greatest black athletes in the history of the game … made millions on their backs and off their sweat equity,” Rose said.

“Y’all think it’s funny when ‘Justice’ passes the ball to ‘Equal Opportunity’? When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”

Jalen Rose implies that Phil Jackson is racist

Another day, another ESPN talking head calling someone racist. What else is new?

Obviously, Rose doesn’t outwardly call him racist. But he strongly implies it. He brings up Phil Jackson winning championships “on the backs” of “black athletes.” This is a ridiculous statement in and of itself.

First, it takes any credit away from Phil Jackson. That’s important because if you’re going to go after someone, you have to attack their credibility. Rose implies that Jackson essentially used those athletes. Except Phil Jackson worked hard, too. And everyone was paid handsomely for their efforts.

Rose makes it sound like Jackson is a slave master and the Bulls and Lakers players worked under him. He does this very much on purpose.

I find it pretty hard to believe that Phil Jackson, who has spent the majority of his life playing with or coaching black men, is a racist. That would make it very difficult to be an elite NBA coach.

Jalen Rose thinks Phil Jackson, who has spent his entire life working with black men to achieve incredible success, is a racist.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose thinks Phil Jackson, who has spent his entire life working with black men to achieve incredible success, is a racist. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” Rose said. Clear intent from Rose: Jackson showed that he is racist, so you better believe he is racist.

No, Jackson just understands that the NBA absolutely “caters” to a particular audience. Rose cannot believe that Jackson thinks it’s “funny” when “Justice” passes to “Equal Opportunity.” Why does Jackson think that’s funny?

Because it’s objectively funny. And, here’s the thing: putting those slogans on NBA jerseys doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t solve any problems. All it does is signal to other people in your group that you’re “down with the cause.”

So people might say, “So what? What’s wrong with putting those slogans on jerseys?”

I would say there’s nothing wrong with it, per se, except that it makes people feel like they’re contributing, even though they aren’t.

That’s the specialty of people like Jalen Rose. See, Rose doesn’t really do anything, either. He tweets out videos. Goes on ESPN and calls mountains racists.

Rose is employing a simple tactic here called “ad hominem.” Phil Jackson is far more successful in basketball — and life — than Jalen Rose.

So, Rose goes for personal attacks.

Except, all Jackson is saying is that political messaging hurt the NBA. That’s objectively true.

Jalen Rose implies that Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson is a racist because Jackson thinks the NBA has become too political.
Jalen Rose implies that Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson is a racist because Jackson thinks the NBA has become too political. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

It’s something that a lot of companies are doing right now. They’d rather virtue-signal and lose customers than stay out of it.

Why? Because they don’t want people like Jalen Rose calling them racist. That’s the grift.

People like Rose essentially hold people and corporations hostage and force them to participate in these meaningless gestures. Don’t pay that ransom and you better watch out.

It’s smart business for Rose, though. He lacks the talent to be a true TV star like contemporaries Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.

He wasn’t as good at basketball as them, either. So, in order to keep his position among the media elite, he uses the race card as often as possible.

That way, if ESPN decided to get rid of Rose or make him take a pay cut, he’d call them racist.

They don’t want that, so he continues to spew his nonsense completely unchecked.

I bet no one challenges Rose on ESPN airwaves on Monday. Why would they? They only keep people around who believe the same exact thing.

So much for that diversity that ESPN is always talking about.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.


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  1. Jalen Rose is working to separate himself from the remainder of the ESPN Woke Stars with layoffs coming this week.
    Phil Jackson is anything but conservative where politics go. Yes, the NBA and NFL has gone completely woke. At least the NFL is reducing the public pronouncements that all white folks are KKK members.

  2. Jalen Rose has been playing the race card and acting like he`s a slave since the Fab 5. Maybe he should ask MJ, Pippen, Shaq and all the other black players he won those rings with and see what they say about him?

  3. Oh brother! Where to start? Jackson stopped watching the NBA because it became woke. The same reason I and many others did. Phil didn’t say the quality of play sucks so I’ll do that here. Coincidentally the same 2 reasons I don’t watch the NHL either. The game is soft now and the Pride sweaters they make players wear are ridiculous. Other than trying to get the Russian players assinated, what are you trying to accomplish? So am I racist against blacks for not watching the NBA and also racist against whites for not watching the NHL? How does that explain my being a fan of baseball, college football, college basketball, and still mostly the NFL except when they do the woke thing occasionally? I won’t even mention Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim because this is a Jalen Rose article and it would be too easy.

  4. Jalen Rose is such a dildo. Of course, this is his take. Nothing Phil said was that controversial. It is indeed a fact, politicization of the game, along with the terrible product that was the “bubble” that caused ratings to tank. I can’t take this dude seriously. He dresses like a kid, mid-life crisis ass insecure man child. No wonder Molly left his ass.

  5. Internet Clowns Jalen Rose For Getting Absolutely Demolished On An Episode Of Jeopardy

    Final score:
    Ike Barinholtz $46,001 (51 correct, 0 incorrect)
    Constance Wu $0 (23 correct, 7 incorrect)
    Jalen Rose $0 (4 correct, 5 incorrect)

    How about this response when asked to name the “New England state known for chowder, old money, and being the home of TV’s Gilmore Girls.” Rose answered, “New England.”

    Never forget, Rose’s life skill is putting a ball through a hoop. Seals do this.

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