Explaining Jalen

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

What's in a name?

Jalen Rose's naming story is better than most.

"I was blessed with the name Jalen. My mother (Jeanne) was going to name me James after my father (ex-NBA all-star Jimmy Walker), whose real name was James, but he wasn't there to take (her) to the hospital," said the Raptors guard, who never met his father.

"So her brother (Leonard, short form Len) took her to the hospital and that makes Jalen."

Now, Rose knows of hundreds of people named Jalen and many are listed on Rose's website (jalenrose.com) as Jalen's Angels. Some even have the middle name Rose.

"I play in front of 20,000 every night and I've been doing it for 11 years in the pros, three years in college and four years in high school," Rose said. "I was actually a pretty good player at all levels, so I guess a lot of people heard the name and really liked it.

"The thing about it is if you don't like the person, you obviously won't name your child after him. I mean if you love the name, but if you hate the guy, you're not going to name your child after him. I embrace that and I appreciate that and that makes me feel like a role model."

PROPS TO BERNIE

Before accepting the Raptors coaching job, Sam Mitchell was hired as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats this summer. He enjoyed his time working for the expansion team's general manager/coach, Bernie Bickerstaff.

"It felt like you were part of a family," Mitchell said before his Raptors beat the Bobcats 103-92 yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. "Everybody pulled for one another and everybody cared for each other. The thing I loved about Bernie is the first three days on the job I didn't see him. I got a voice mail every morning when I came in around 7:15 of the things he needed me to take care of that day ... I love that he let people do their job."

BRIEFLY

For the first time since Feb. 10, 2004, the Raptors had three 20-point scorers yesterday -- Chris Bosh (21), Rose (22) and Morris Peterson (26).


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