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Jalen Rose is Done With All These $35 Haircuts Out Here

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The retired hooper and prolific ESPN personality talks handicapping the 2023 NBA title, the best and worst investments, and his philosophy on the sanctuary known as the barbershop.

Jalen Rose is a man with many opinions and a vast range of experiences.

A member of Michigan‘s fabled Fab 5 before embarking on a 14-year NBA career that saw him win the league’s Most Improved Player award in 1999-00, the 50-year-old Rose then began a wildly successful career as an analyst, podcaster, and personality for ESPN. He additionally finds time to stay perpetually active as a philanthropist and community leader who started a tuition-free high school in his native Detroit, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

At Super Bowl LVII week in Phoenix, Rose spoke to Boardroom at the annual Maxim party’s red carpet about money poorly spent, who he’d start a business with, and his thoughts on haircuts that nearly broke the Internet.

(In fact, depending on who you are, you might want to start preparing yourself for some hard truths right now.)

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity

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SHLOMO SPRUNG: The Phoenix Suns are +440 to win the NBA title on FanDuel SportsBook. Are you taking that bet?

JALEN ROSE: See, I’m a gambler. I don’t bet on the NBA, but I’m very knowledgeable on how to bet, when to bet, where to bet. And I’m not just talking about playing blackjack, which I do, shooting craps, which I do, or betting on a lot of football, which I really do. I like that. I’m taking that. Boston and Milwaukee are in the same conference, so therefore, I believe that they have a legitimate chance to make it to the Finals. And once you get to the Finals, they’ve got Devin Booker, CP3, DeAndre Ayton, and Kevin Durant all on the same team. With those odds, I’m taking them.

SS: What’s the most money you’ve spent on one item that wasn’t a house?

JR: I tell a story that I’m not proud of. I’ve got two of them, actually. One time in Toronto, I bought a Vertu cell phone. It cost like $15,000. I was like, “it’s an international phone, it gave me multiple plugs, it was the same people that made Phantom and Bentley.” And all it did was collect dust in a box. 

So, one day I was taking my daughter to school. She was really young and I’d been traveling, so I didn’t want to leave my items in a hotel room, and I looked down at 8:00 in the morning and I had this huge diamond bracelet on that I called “The Mansion.” And I’m like, you know what, I love Slick Rick, but I’m not him, especially dropping my daughter off at 8 a.m. I said I can probably break this down and make something else happen with it, so that probably was the second one. Not that I don’t love truck jewels, but at that time and how I was moving, it just didn’t fit.

SS: If you could start a business with any current or former pro athlete, who would it be and why?

JR: Magic Johnson. That’s an easy one. That’s my idol, somebody I look up to, a terrific entrepreneur, somebody who I have his phone number. Isiah Thomas also. Junior Bridgeman. Isiah’s a Detroit Bad Boy; Bridgeman’s been doing his thing for a long time with his Wendy’s [franchising] and so many other companies. How about Vinnie Johnson, also doing his thing in the city of Detroit with his entrepreneurial spirit? And LeBron! LeBron, KD, how about the fact that both of those guys have invested in education? LeBron started a school, KD took his time, energy, and money and gave $10 million back. You know how passionate you have to be about something to give $10 million to it? Those are the guys really making game-changing moves.

SS: What’s a better investment: cars or jewelry?

JR: Jewelry. Cars depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot. I don’t care what it is. I know there are antiques and you can keep them over time and flip them over time and all of that. But the price of gold and what you can do with diamonds and throw them on your insurance and things you can make happen with them, jewelry would probably be the better investment

SS: What’s your annual haircut budget?

JR: That’s a good question. First off, the minimum you’re supposed to be spending for a quality barber is $100, because I’m here to defend the sanctuary that’s called barbers and beauticians.

@boardroom_ From the NBA Haircut Honcho himself. #jalenrose ##espn##nba##barber##barbershop##barbertok ♬ original sound – Boardroom

So many guys and people out there think y’all can show up and get a fly haircut for $35; y’all are going to go to the end of the line, y’all are going to hit up your barber, they’re going to send you to voicemail. You’ll have a 1:00 appointment, and you’ll get there at 1:00 and somebody’s going to be sitting in the chair, so you can’t be spending less than $100.

I love my barbers. I’m from the D. We love our fashion and being fly at all times.

SS: What’s the craziest sales pitch you’ve ever gotten?

JR: Everybody wants to start a clothing line — that’s a bad move. Everybody wants to start a record label. Not necessarily a bad move, not today. That game has changed. You can flip out your phone and start your label right now. Before, you had to go in the studio and get signed and go to the label and get them to believe in you, so I would probably say clothing line.

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