Former Duke star Grant Hill said Wednesday it was "sad and somewhat pathetic" to see former Michigan guard Jalen Rose refer to him and other black Duke players as "Uncle Toms."
"For me, Duke was a person," Rose said in the new ESPN documentary "The Fab Five," which he executive produced. "I hated Duke and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke don’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms."
Former Wolverine Jimmy King, who played alongside Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson as part of the "Fab Five" freshmen who arrived in Ann Arbor in 1991, echoed Rose’s sentiments.
"I thought [former Duke star] Christian Laettner was soft; a b*tch. And I thought Grant Hill was a b*tch," King said, referring to what the Michigan players thought about the Blue Devils as teenagers.
Hill took issue with the comments in an editorial Wednesday in the New York Times.
"It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a b*tch and worse, calling all black players at Duke "Uncle Toms" and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me."
Hill added, "I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them."
Rose admitted in the documentary that he admired Hill’s upbringing as part of a "strong black family," explaining that as a teenager growing up in Detroit he resented the fact that he did not know his father.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, King said his comments in the documentary were what he felt about Hill and Duke at the time, not today. Rose has also said that the feelings he expressed were what he thought as a teenager.
"I don’t have any issues with Grant today," King said. "I’ve grown up. I don’t view people in that manner anymore.
"Today, I understand why Duke would recruit the sort of people that they’re viewed to recruit. If that’s what that school is looking for, that’s fine. That was where we were coming from 20 years ago.
"If I saw Grant, I’d definitely shake his hand," King added. "I’d congratulate him on having a great career, fighting through adversity and reinventing himself despite injuries."
Suns forward and seven-time NBA All-Star Hill also wrote that Rose turned the "vitriolic" Uncle Tom phrase into a term to describe "blacks from two-parent, middle-class families" and "leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today."
"To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous," Hill said.
Hill was a sophomore on the Duke team that defeated Michigan and "The Fab Five" 71-51 in the 1992 final, the team’s second straight championship.
Hill ended his article by saying, "I am proud of my family. I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates. And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five."