Jalen Rose couldn’t help it. On ESPN’s “NBA “Countdown” on Sunday, he broke down, shedding tears as he remembered his mother Jeanne, who passed away earlier this year.
The segment was about how his mother named him, and the spread in popularity of the name Jalen after his rise as a famous athlete.
“This is the first time in my life that I didn’t have my mother and grandmother on Mother’s Day, you know what I’m saying. It’s been tough. It’s been really tough for me and my family,” he said. “But I’m going to be strong, though. I got a lot of people that rely on me, a lot of people that love me, a lot of people that believe in me. So I’m going to represent. Momma, I’m going to make you proud.”
Rose recalled how his father, Jimmy Walker, played in the NBA, but he never knew him. His mother was convinced he would get there one day.
“She was like, ‘You’re going to make it, you’re going to get us out the hood, I promise you,’ ” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m going to do it, Ma,’ and I did it, and we did it.”
As a kid, Rose would sign autographs as Dr. J for Julius Erving, the Hall of Famer.
“‘You [are] Dr. J, but you ain’t never better than Magic [Johnson].’ That’s what she told me. She loved Magic,” he said with a laugh. “That’s how she motivated me.”