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 in his life.
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.
Rose’s mother died in February of lung cancer at the age of 79.
Rose, whose first name is a combination of his father and uncle’s names — James and Leonard, respectively — has called his name a “superpower.”
“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.”
According to the ESPN article, Jeanne Rose seemed to have understood the impact her son’s name had; when he went through her belongings following her death, he noted a hand-written list of names with athletes carring Jalen’s name or some variation. She seemed to have followed their careers.
“I knew it was something that she realized had become bigger than her — and clearly way larger than me,” Rose said. “It’s something now that really is gonna be what defines her legacy and mine. Something that has zero to do with the score of any game that I ever played.”
A loving, lasting gift from Jeanne Rose to her son — one he undoubtedly will remember every Mother’s Day.