BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Jalen Rose was sentenced Wednesday to 20 days in jail for a March drunken-driving crash near Detroit, despite a recommendation that the ESPN analyst and former NBA player not serve jail time and the public support of several prominent figures, including Detroit’s mayor.
When he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in May, Rose told the judge he drank six martinis before crashing his SUV along a snowy road in West Bloomfield Township. He apologized in a brief statement after Wednesday’s hearing.
“I’m humbled, I’m embarrassed, and I’m very apologetic. I can assure everyone that nothing like this will ever happen again,” he said.
One of his attorneys, Keith Davidson, wasn’t so contrite, railing against the sentence handed down by 48th District Court Judge Kimberly Small.
“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.”
Small, who is known for coming down hard on drunken drivers, lectured the former University of Michigan star for 15 minutes before delivering her sentence.
“I don’t think you have an alcohol problem, and I sincerely believe you when you say this will not happen again,” she said. “But there are issues of punishment and deterrence. The one thing that people never want — that they will hire expensive lawyers to avoid — is jail time. That’s why I believe it is the right punishment.”
Several prominent figures, including Detroit mayor Dave Bing, wrote letters to the court asking for leniency. Rose, who is from Detroit, is opening a school that will bear his own name in Detroit.
When another of Rose’s attorneys, James Burdick, pointed out that the probation department did not recommend jail, Small wasn’t having any of it.
“The people have hired me, not my probation department,” the judge replied.
Rose’s actual sentence is 92 days in jail and one year’s probation, but Small suspended 72 days of the sentence. The maximum penalty for the charge is 93 days, but Rose received credit for the night he spent in jail after the crash.
ESPN released a statement Wednesday, saying “the incident was regrettable and we’ve dealt with it internally. Jalen has expressed remorse and we all are looking forward to putting this behind us.”
Rose is scheduled to begin serving his 20 days in jail Aug. 2, although Davidson said they might appeal before then.
“There were two crimes committed in this case. The first was when Jalen got behind the wheel, and the second one was today,” Davidson said.
Small granted Rose the six-day delay so he could attend a birthday party for his 93-year-old grandmother this weekend.
Rose played for six teams during his 13-year NBA career, including six years with the Indiana Pacers.