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10 Questions with Jalen Rose -- Part I

Jalen Rose in Washington D.C. Rose takes in the sights during the Bulls' recent trip to Washington D.C.
March 13, 2002

A 6-8, 217-pound guard/forward, Jalen Rose came to the Bulls on Feb. 20 and was immediately labeled as Bill Cartwright's go-to guy. Without a single practice with his new team under his belt, the new addition led Chicago to victory over the New York Knicks with 36 points and 6 assists.

The Bulls went on to win two more consecutive games under Rose, assembling their first three-game win streak since early 2000. Jalen recently took a time-out to fill Bulls.com in on his experience in Chicago so far and more in Part I (click here to read Part II) of this exclusive interview:

You've been in the league long enough to get a good feel for all of the cities… what have you come to like about Chicago over the years?

Being from Detroit, I had been in Chicago a few times growing up. Juwan Howard [Jalen's friend and teammate at Michigan] is from Chicago so I came a few times to hang out with Juwan at a younger age. We went to a few parties, some restaurants, the Taste [of Chicago] festival and things like that so I'm real familiar with Chicago and being in the Midwest. What I really like is that Chicago is a big city, it has a large market and you are exposed to everything like shows and plays.

You played against the Bulls for years but now you are playing with them. What's your impression of Chicago fans and how do you feel you've been received so far?

My impression of the fans is that they are fanatics. We have fans who are loyal and not only are they knowledgeable about the game, they are defensive when it comes to their team. It's the same energetic crowd that cheered for six championships. It's been a full house here over the last few seasons, even though the team has been struggling. That says a lot about them and how hungry they are for a winner.

What was it like to get a win in your first game as a Bull before the fans at the United Center?

Coming into a new situation, you hope that everything is going to be positive. But [debuting before the home crowd] was much better than I expected or even had hoped or prayed for. Not only to get the victory and to have the individual effort I had, the reception by the fans and the way they embraced me as one of their own--that showed they were really excited about having me here and they wanted to make sure I knew that.

Jalen Rose at the line Rose says the Chicago fans have given him a reception better than he had hoped or prayed for.
You've got several tattoos with various phrases on both arms. Tell us a little bit about a few of them and explain their meanings. Do they represent Jalen Rose, the person?

With my tattoos, I've got my war side on my left side, being left handed, and a faith side on my right side, right with God.

On my left side, I've got "mentally focused," which is self-explanatory. Some people don't need to be reminded and some need a constant reminder. I also have a soldier with a battle helmet or a war helmet on there because this life we live is a concrete jungle. Every time you leave your house you've got to be prepared for what might happen. I've got "nothing to lose and everything to gain," that's also self-explanatory. My number five tattoo, that's my lucky number, it's kind of my lifeline.

On my other side I have Jesus Christ, for obvious reasons, with a cross and His name. Above that is "seek the truth" and "salvation" is underneath. My theatrical faces on the back of my neck are the balance--"laugh now, cry later"--so that I appreciate life and enjoy it for what it is and not worry about what is going to happen next.

What's something most fans don't know about Jalen Rose?

That I'm really not the brash, cocky guy that you see when you're watching a Bulls game, even though I am that way out on the floor. I play for a living but I also love to play. That's a healthy balance of emotion that as a player, you have to keep balanced. I've been balancing it my entire life.

  • Read Part II of this interview, in which Rose discusses the greatest influences on his basketball career, what he'd be doing if he wasn't playing hoops and his vision for the Bulls' future.

    - Adam Fluck, Bulls.com