ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jalen Rose could live comfortably off the millions he made in the NBA and the money he makes now as an ESPN analyst.
The former Michigan and NBA standout created a foundation in 2000 that has helped 40 students attend college with scholarships, giving back in a way that shows he's thankful for his good fortune.
Rose, though, is motivated to do much more.
He has lately dedicated a great deal of his time and resources to creating the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, an open-enrollment, tuition-free charter school in his hometown of Detroit.
"Instead of trying to help five kids go to college each year, now I'm trying to help 120," Rose said.
Rose said 120 students have been selected by lottery to be the first ninth-graders at the high school. He said he wants to raise $10 million by 2013 to develop a school for 480 students that will compete with the best private institutions in the state.
Rose raised some money Monday at a golf event and has also gotten financial commitments from people such as one of his mentors, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.
"I think what Jalen is doing is great, so I'm trying to help him get the project off the ground with some of my resources," Thomas said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "The more athletes can re-connect with their communities the better off we'll all be. Some of us do a lot, and some of us don't do enough."
Rose said he has been inspired by what Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson and tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi have done with schools in Sacramento and Las Vegas along with a program for kids run by Hall of Famer George Gervin in San Antonio.
Students in Detroit have been looking for an alternative.
One of the nation's worst public school systems graduates about 60 percent of its students, leading to its enrollment dropping about 30 percent in four years. Parents have been sending their kids to public and private schools in the suburbs along with charters in and out of the city.
The 38-year-old Rose is the founder of the school and he'll also be a teacher of sorts, helping his students learn life lessons such as the one he experienced after pleading guilty to drunken driving earlier this year.
"Life is really not what necessarily happens to you, it's what you do about it," Rose said. "When you have failures, a measure of a person is how you respond. I 'm no different. Being a testimony means a lot more than talking about something that you've never been through. ... I can tell you it won't happen again."
Rose's school: http://www.jrladetroit.com
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