Jalen Rose is a legend in the basketball world. His stint in the legendary 'Fab Five' squad from the University of Michigan is still heralded as one of the best teams in the history of college basketball.
And his stint with the Indiana Pacers was quite memorable, as he and the Pacers became the closest team to toppling Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their final season together.
Jalen Rose was never a superstar in the NBA and never became an All-Star, All-NBA player, or an NBA champion during his stint. But he still had a massive impact on the sport of basketb. But the extent of that impact may be much bigger than we had known, at least if we believe Jalen Rose.
ESPN analyst Pablo S. Torre took to Twitter to talk about Jalen Rose claiming that he was the original Jalen, the inspiration behind many athletes in the NBA and the NFL being named Jalen since he garnered fame in the NBA. He revealed that he had done some research on the topic.
Torre revealed that since Jalen's claim over the years, the name 'Jalen' has become the most popular name among players in Division 1 collegiate basketball, even more than the names 'Michael' and 'Jordan', both names which were below the percentage of players with the name 'Jalen' individually.
5,637 players have the name Jalen, close to 2% of the total number of Division 1 men's collegiate basketball at 1.81%. Perhaps Rose was right in terms of the impact he had, and why so many people picked the name 'Jalen', even more than people who named their children after Michael Jordan, who then would end up playing college basketball.
For years, Jalen Rose has claimed he is The Original Jalen: the one that inspired not just the many Jalens in the NFL/NBA Draft. But all Jalens — everywhere. So ESPN Daily spent weeks INVESTIGATING this. And it became one of my favorite episodes...
UPDATE: "Jalen" is now the single most popular first name in all of D-I men's college basketball this season, ahead of "Michael" and "Jordan."
Rose reacted to this research confirming what he had been saying for years, thanking his mother, and acknowledging her for giving him the name that has become so popular these days. Perhaps we will see a whole new generation of players in the future who will make the name 'Jalen' even more popular.
Jalen Rose is a history maker, especially with his time at the University of Michigan with the 'Fab Five'. And whether you believe that people named their children after seeing the impact Rose had on the game or not, it is undeniable that he is one of the most important players in the history of college basketball.