But the former University of Michigan and NBA star met his match in a different kind of court Wednesday.
Facing a judge known as one of the state’s toughest, 48th District Court Judge Kimberly Small, Rose received a 20-day jail sentence for drunken driving. Rose was there because he rolled his SVU on a snowy road in March and pleaded guilty in May to driving while intoxicated. Rose’s blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent; Michigan’s legal limit is 0.08.
“I’m humbled, I’m embarrassed, and I’m very apologetic,” Rose said about a half-hour after the sentence was handed down. “I can assure everyone that nothing like this will ever happen again.”
Studies have shown that Small is extremely harsh on first-time offenders, and she lived up to her billing.
Rose received a 92-day sentence — 72 days of that were suspended — and a one-year probation. He is scheduled to begin the sentence at the Oakland County Jail at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
First, though, he was subjected to a lengthy, emotional lecture from the judge.
“I don’t mind you drinking, even the equivalent of 10-12 drinks that you had — those were six very large martinis,” Small said. “What I do mind is when you get behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle and use it as a dangerous weapon against the people of this community.
“I am so tired of the carnage caused by people who can’t bother to pick up a telephone.”
Small read from two newspaper articles about multiple family members being killed by first-time offenders, then asked Rose what the difference was in his case.
“No one got injured,” Rose said, before Small snapped back, “Luck.”
“If I had made you serve the entire 92 days in jail, you should have kissed the ground where you stand, because it is only luck that has kept you from doing 25 years like these two people,” Small said, referencing the defendants in the newspaper articles.
Rose’s attorneys had provided the judge with a long list of his accomplishments, both on and off the court, and included a glowing letter from Detroit mayor Dave Bing. Small, though, wasn’t impressed.
“I think you are a very good man, and I wish we had met under different circumstances,” she said. “But I don’t have the luxury of just looking at you. I have to look through you to the community that I have been hired to protect.”
Attorney James Burdick asked that Rose be placed in a program focused on education rather than punishment, but Small declined after Rose acknowledged he knew driving drunk was illegal and that thousands of people are killed every year.
“That’s all the education you need, and you already have it,” she said of Rose, now an ESPN basketball analyst. “This needs to stop, and I have found that jail is the one thing people never want. They hire expensive attorneys to avoid jail, so it must be a deterrent.”
Another of Rose’s attorneys, Keith Davidson, blasted Small’s sentence.
“This was nothing less than an elected judge legislating from the bench,” Davidson said. “This is a man who has given millions of dollars to charity, started schools around the world and worked endlessly for the community, yet her average sentence is 17 days, and she sentenced Mr. Rose to 20 days.
“There were two crimes committed in this case. The first was when Jalen got behind the wheel, and the second one was today.”
Rose was a member of the U-M’s famed Fab Five teams, which reached the NCAA’s title games in 1992 and 1993. He played in the NBA for 13 seasons until 2007.
Rose created a stir back in March with the release of ESPN’s “Fab Five” documentary. In it, he proclaimed his hatred of Duke and his opinion during his college career that the Blue Devils’ black players were “Uncle Toms.”