Jalen Rose has made the seamless transition from being a 13-year NBA veteran to one of the most in-demand NBA analysts and media personalities on the scene today. First coming to prominence as a member of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, Rose can be seen giving his insight, replete with Black cultural references on ESPN's NBA Today, NBA Countdown, and formerly on Jalen and Jacoby.

On the entertainment side, Rose is the host of his acclaimed podcast The Renaissance Man, where he interviews A-list celebrities in music, TV and film, fashion and everything in between.

During NBA All-Star Weekend, Rose was on hand for STARRY's $50,000 donation to the Black Cultural Center of the University of Utah. The donation will support and empower the next generation of Black leaders in the community as part of the center’s Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. program.

EBONY caught up with Rose and spoke his Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in his hometown of Detroit and why education is essential for success.

“We want to give young Black kids an opportunity to be successful in life, to achieve their goals, and to pursue opportunities,” Rose said. “In order for that to happen, it takes time, it takes energy, and it takes finances. Therefore, when we give back to our community we stabilize our neighborhoods and we’re putting young people in the position to be leaders of today and to be leaders of tomorrow.”

“First I want to shout out STARRY, the official drink of the NBA, for committing to invest  $570 million over the next five years to programs that impact people of color and address racial inequality,” he added. “So it is an honor for me to be here today at the University of Utah’s Black Cultural Center to present a check to them. This is the kind of charity that makes it to the hood.”

Image: Getty Images for STARRY.

Rose also gave his take on the recent trades that took place in the NBA in early February. The biggest trade of them all was when 13-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns in a move that sent shockwaves throughout the basketball world. According to Rose, the Suns are in a prime position to capture their franchise’s first championship with the addition of Durant.

"Newsflash, Phoenix won the West Conference title two seasons ago and was the number one seed in the playoffs last year," he noted. " And they added Kevin Durant. They already have Devin Booker and Chris Paul who's a future Hall of Famer. After adding K.D., they are now my favorite to win the West. Don't be surprised if it happens."

In addition to being an advocate of education and a prominent sports personality, he shared his excitement about appearing on his favorite TV drama BMF. Loosely based on the lives of Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, natives of Southwest Detroit, the duo would launch one of the most infamous criminal organizations in American history in the 1980s. Rose spoke about how appearing in the series is a full-circle moment.

“Not only am I going to be on BMF, but my episode is coming on Friday night,” he said with excitement. "Look at Lil Meech’s page on IG. That's my nephew. When they talk about Southwest Detroit, that’s where I went to high school. Free Big Meech and Southwest T, my OGs. When I hooped in high school their sister Nicole was a cheerleader. That’s my family. Shoutout to Randy Huggings who’s also from Detroit for reaching out to put me in the show”

Lastly, as one of the best representatives of Black culture in sports media, Rose shared the impact that EBONY has had on his life and how the iconic brand caused him to aspire to strive for greatness.

“Let me tell you a secret,” he explained. “I have a wall of fame of what I call 'Immortals' who are people that I idolized and are extensions of my childhood. One of these people is Don Cornelious of Soul Train and my poster of Geroge '“'Iceman' Gervin. In my room, one side had all of my EBONY covers and on the other side, I had my JET Beauties of the Week. EBONY has always been the fabric of our culture. I thank you for bringing us stories by people who look like us, who encourage us, and inspire us."’"