Jalen Rose was moved to tears in an emotional tribute to his mother, Jeanne, and grandmother, Mary Belle Hicks, on Sunday — his first Mother’s Day without either of them. Rose lost his mother earlier this year, and he made it clear to ESPN viewers how much she meant to him.
Rose paid tribute to his mother following an “NBA Countdown” segment that discussed how she named him Jalen — creating a meteoric spike in popularity for the name in the United States and in popular culture following his success at Michigan. It was a touching moment, with co-host Maria Taylor comforting Rose as he discussed the impact his mother had on his life.
“This is the first time in my life that I didn’t have my mother and grandmother on Mother’s Day, and it’s really been tough for me and my family. … We fell in love with basketball together,” Rose said while fighting back tears. “My father played in the (NBA), and to not know him, she was like, ‘You’re gonna make it. You’re gonna get us out of the ‘hood. I promise you.’ And I was like, ‘I’m gonna do it, mom.’ And I did it. And we did it.”
“I always say that the name Jalen’s a superpower,” Rose said in an ESPN article that ran on April 28 to coincide with what would have been his mother’s 80th birthday. “Because, if you’re seeing this level of Jalens when you’re watching college basketball and football, pro basketball and football, that’s a small percentage of the society that actually carry the name.”
Rose defided the odds and made something of himself thanks in part to the women in his life. Jeanne Rose died of lung cancer in February. She was 79.