Fourth-Place Medal

Jalen Rose doesn’t care for the ‘lazy’ journalists calling USA’s women’s gymnastics team the ‘Fab Five’

Fourth-Place Medal

Jalen Rose eyes your wordplay from afar, sportswriters (Getty Images)

Former Michigan guard and original "Fab Five" member Jalen Rose doesn't like media referring to the USA's entrant in the women's gymnastics Olympic tourney as the "Fab Five." Because Rose's University of Michigan's men's basketball team from 1991-93 was referred to as the first "Fab Five." The first "Fab Five," because there was no "Fab Five" before that; which apparently makes it so all potential "Fab Fives" can never be referenced as either "Fab" before mentioning how many members make up the fab-ness. Only the bloody Beatles omit this criterion, to Jalen Rose, only because they were referred to as the "Fab Four" because "fab" was actually something you said around 40 years ago around this time in Great Britain. Where the current "Fab Five" USA women's gymnastics team is currently competing.

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It's one thing for a crinkly old former college star from the 1950s to kvetch about short memories, and it's another for some amped-up 20-something ne'er do-well to moan about a too-easy nickname given by sports writers just filling out a timecard, but Jalen has to back off a bit in this regard. Because, all while giving his full support for the gymnastics team, he comes off as someone who feels as if he's been passed by. From an interview with 97.1 FM in Detroit, as relayed by the Detroit Free Press:

"To use the nickname just points and screams of lazy journalism by the national media, that's really what it is," Rose told 97.1's Jamie Samuelsen. "It's no fault at all of the young gymnasts. But I really wish they would have come up with an even more creative tag for them and their gold medal pursuit."

It's not the fault of the gymnastics squad. It's not Jalen, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson's burden that their early-1990s exploits were dignified as "fab," (gear), and it's on journalists (in print, or otherwise) to come up with a more creative term for a unit consisting of five members.

Come on, though, Jalen. Even Ringo wouldn't be caught complaining about such a media-driven alliance in some 1992 radio interview. He had his All-Starr Band promotion to attend to, surely. Talking up Dave Edmunds actually working all the way through "Girls Talk" without getting angry.

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Yes, journalists can be lazy. And no, we don't enjoy the tedium of listening to yet another catchphrase being applied to a group that, frankly, might serve as the biggest page-turner in all of sports for this particular summer but quickly forgotten in a manner of months as the eyes move elsewhere. It would be nice to remember names, instead of being fed a go-to line. I'm not making a cheap joke when I point out that Ray Jackson and Jimmy King, more than likely, probably feel the same in retrospect.

Two members of "The Beatles" (Getty Images)

But why whine? Jalen couched his remarks effortlessly, as his intelligence and time spent on air with ESPN effortlessly blended into him immediately pointing out the way he's supporting their "gold medal pursuit." Why not give the radio station an "I really don't give a rip"-answer? Unless, of course, he really does care. Which is odd, because remember that whole thing about how "The Fab Five" was a take on another group that was alternately nicknamed "The Fab Four?"

(Following this pre-fab four.)

(And this one.)

To Rose's credit, he could be cashing in. The Free Press discussed the fact that Jalen was given the trademark to the name "The Fab Four" last year, and if his whims led in that potentially bountiful (if impermanent) direction, Jalen could cash in (following some legal machinations surrounding the amateur status of the athletes depicted) with whatever type of advert he chose. Rose, some two decades following the breakup of the original Fab Five, apparently has his eyes on other pursuits. Or — and again, this is to his credit — retiring the name as well as its financial potential.

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This was a radio interview, and not a statement of purpose. Jalen, while being expected to fill airtime, likely gave an extended "come, ahhhhn" response after a deserved eye roll sent in the direction of those who thought it would be best to call this gymnastics squad a particularly unoriginal name. Nearly as unoriginal, it should be noted, as referencing a nearly 30-year-old nickname (as was the case in the early 1990s) for a pop group that was nicknamed as such because the amount of members in the band (four) aligned in alliterative tone with the mod parlance of the day.

("Fab." Assuming you've forgotten.)

In the end, it just appears as if Jalen can't get no satisfaction. He really is reelin' in the years.

(Sorry. Just attempting to make a rock-based crossover while attempting to move beyond my inherent laziness as a sports writer.)

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