Drexel’s Malik Rose has had an incredible run from small-college star to NBA executive
Malik Rose played 13 seasons in the NBA and is now an assistant general manager with the Detroit Pistons.
Athletes come and go through teams and cities. Some stay in the spotlight while others can be lost with the passage of time.
It is about those athletes we ask Where Are They Now?
Then: America East player of the year (1995, 1996) at Drexel.
Now: Assistant general manager of the Detroit Pistons.
Faith can take you a long way.
Going into the 1996 NBA draft virtually everyone told Malik Rose there was no need for him to go – even tough Continental Airlines Arena was only a two-hour drive up the New Jersey Turnpike from Philadelphia.
The graduate of Overbrook High had had a brilliant collegiate career at Drexel University, culminating with his leading the Dragons to their only NCAA tournament victory and being named a third-team all-American by United Press International and honorable mention by the Associated Press.
Still, his being one of the 58 players selected in the NBA draft just wasn't going to happen.
Rose's mother, Janet, never let doubt enter his mind. She said they would go to the Meadowlands because he was going to be drafted.
"My mother, God rest her soul, always believed," said Rose, who had 22 points and 19 rebounds to lead 12th-seeded Drexel to a 75-63 upset of Memphis in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament. "I bought a ticket [for the draft] and sat in the stands. I was picked 44 [by the Charlotte Hornets]. They called my name, my family all cheered, and then we just got up and left."
It was the first steps in a 22-year NBA journey that continues. On June 29, Rose, who retired in 2009 after 13 seasons as a player, was named assistant general manager for the Detroit Pistons.
"I always wanted to be on the front office side of basketball," said Rose, who averaged 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in his career. "This is a great opportunity in Detroit to be a part of senior leadership."
After retiring, Rose, who won two NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, transitioned into broadcasting – including a role as color commentator for the Sixers from 2011 to 2015.
In August 2015, Rose was hired as manager of basketball operations for the Atlanta Hawks. In 2017, he was promoted to general manager of the Erie Bayhawks, Atlanta's affiliate in the NBA G League, and named executive of the year.
Rose has always made the most from the opportunities presented to him.
When he arrived at Drexel in 1992, there was only the Philadelphia Big Five. The only basketball team trying to push the term "City Six" was Drexel.
Rose helped the school earn a new level of respect on the city's hoops scene.
The Dragons went 96-24 during Rose's career, won three America East tournament titles, and received three NCAA tournament bids.
Drexel now plays Philly's other five Division I programs on a regular basis.
"When I was at Drexel, the only Big Five school that would schedule us was St. Joseph's and I thank them for that," Rose said. "They beat us both times, but they gave us a chance.
"Growing up in Philadelphia, I always wanted to be a part of the Big Five but was never able to. But at Drexel, we did compete and put our school on the map. If they now talk about a City Six as a small part of the Big Five, I'm very, very proud of that."
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