Past Honorees 2020

2020 Honorees

Jalen Rose

Jalen Rose

Former NBA/ University Of Michigan Basketball Player

Current ABC/ESPN analyst and former 13-year NBA star Jalen Rose is one of the few professional athletes to maintain a high profile post retirement. Long known for his post-game quotes and great relationship with the media, Jalen continues to show his versatility in the broadcast booth, in the entertainment world and as a philanthropist.

Jalen was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he attended Southwestern High School and the University of Michigan. In college he was part of the legendary "Fab Five" where he and his teammates revolutionized the sport of basketball on the court and off by wearing baggy uniform shorts, black socks and black shoes. The first team in Final Four history to ever start five freshmen, they led the Wolverines to back to back NCAA Championship game appearances. In 1994, Jalen was drafted in the first round by the Denver Nuggets. Notable highlights from his thirteen-year NBA career include winning the NBA's "Most Improved Player" and "Player of the Week" awards in 2000 and "Eastern Conference Player of the Week" accolades in 2005.

As a member of the Indiana Pacers, his team appeared in three straight eastern conference finals including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2000. In 2003, he was honored with the Professional Basketball Writers Association Magic Johnson Award. Jalen was inducted into the Detroit High School Hall of Fame in 2013 and Michigan Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

While many basketball stars make the transition to the small screen after they hang up their basketball kicks, Jalen made the bold leap in the midst of his NBA career in 2002, becoming a multi-faceted reporter for BET Mad Sports and an on-air personality for Fox Sports Net's famed Best Damn Sports Show Period. Working with the Best Damn Sports Show Period for six years, the budding broadcast star developed his own lifestyle-oriented "Jammin' With Jalen" segment. Shortly after retiring from basketball in 2007, Jalen - a mass communications major at U of M who ultimately earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College - went full throttle pursuing his passion in the multi-media, sports and entertainment world, signing with ABC/ESPN as an analyst.

Covering a wide range of current events in the landscape of sports, he's appeared on the network's flagship shows SportsCenter, Mike and Mike in the Morning, First Take, SportsNation, Outside the Lines and Numbers Never Lie, as well as the basketball related shows Coast to Coast, NBA Tonight and College Game Day. In 2012, Jalen was named a studio analyst for NBA Countdown - ABC and ESPN's pre-game show.

On September 28, 2015, ESPN Radio launched Jalen & Jacoby, a primetime national weekday program (7 -9 p.m.) co-hosted by Rose and ESPN senior producer/commentator David Jacoby. Jalen & Jacoby, which features Rose and Jacoby breaking down the latest news in sports and pop culture, began as a passion project of the same name in 2011 and was promoted to a full show due to its popularity. On January 28, 2016, Jalen & Jacoby added a TV version of their show on ESPN2 which is comprised of segments from the radio show. Their chemistry, catchphrases and devoted following has led them to have the most downloaded sports podcast (per episode) as well as the most watched sport podcast on the internet.

In 2015, The Hollywood Reporter named Jalen the most influential media voice in the NBA with the title of "The Smartest Specialist" and Jalen was also voted the #2 most-liked basketball personality in an online poll.

In 2000, Jalen established the Jalen Rose Foundation/Charitable Fund to create life-changing opportunities for underserved youth through the development of unique programs and the distribution of grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. Grants focus on education and sports and are distributed in Jalen's hometown of Detroit as well as other communities in need.

Jalen's most substantial outreach initiative to date is the establishment of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA). The Academy opened its doors in September 2011 and is an open enrollment, tuition free, public charter high school on the Northwest side of Detroit. The Academy currently serves over 400 ninth through twelfth grade students and graduated its inaugural class in June 2015 - one hundred percent of the Academy's graduates have gained college, trade/technical school or military acceptance. The mission is to provide a leadership-focused experience within a high-performing high school that engages and inspires Detroit area youth to achieve at the rigorous level necessary to ultimately graduate with a college degree and thrive in life. Jalen is the founder of JRLA and serves as the President of the Board of Directors.

A philanthropist who truly gives from the heart, Jalen has personally donated nearly $2 million via his charitable fund and to support his charter school in his hometown. In a movement to transform public education, he is also an Ambassador for the American Federation for Children.

The Detroit News has recognized Jalen with the prestigious Michiganian of the Year Award in recognition of his excellence, courage and philanthropy to uplift not only the metropolitan area but all of Michigan. In 2016, he was awarded the 11th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his significant contributions to civil and human rights, and for laying the foundation for future leaders through his career in sports in the spirit of Dr. King. In addition, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame awarded Jalen with the 2016 Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award. This prestigious honor is only awarded to those with this highest level of dedication to making a positive impact off the court.

In 2007, Jalen created Three Tier Entertainment (TTE), a LA based production and management company. TTE is committed to creating an artistic haven for actors, writers and directors. TTE produces smart, provocative commercial projects with a worldwide mass appeal for film, Television and the web. In 2011, TTE executive produced ESPN's highest rated documentary "The Fab Five."

Jalen released his first book in October 2015. One of the most outspoken and original voices in sports sounds off while revealing his incredible life story in Got to Give the People What They Want. This colorful collection of stories and opinions about basketball and life gives people the kind of insight and understanding they don't get anywhere else in the sports world. GTGTPWTW is a New York Times Bestseller and made the list of Michigan Notable Books from 2016.

In 2016 and 2017, Jalen appeared on To Tell The Truth as a panelist. Hosted by Anthony Anderson, To Tell The Truth is an anarchic and funny re-imagination of the beloved, game show of the same name. He's also appeared on Celebrity Family Feud (2016) and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (2003).

In 2017, Jalen starred in a single-cam pilot episode from writer-creator Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off the Boat) that aired on ESPN. Jalen vs. Everybody also starred Anna Maria Horsford, Marla Gibbs, Kelly Jenrette, Laysla de Oliveira, Jessica McKenna and Rich Sommer. It followed the former NBA star and current radio/TV personality Rose as he juggled his career responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad.

A familiar face to the big screen, Jalen has also appeared on Fresh Off The Boat and The Game, as well as made cameos in The Cookout 2, Just Wright and Barbershop.

A true play-maker on the court while charming and fashionable off the court, Jalen has been recognized for his style on numerous occasions including being voted one of the NBA's best dressed players. Jalen has proved to be more than just a professional athlete making him an all-around superstar on and off the hardwood. This mogul will always be known as "The Natural."

Thomas Hearns

Thomas Hearns

3 Time Boxing Champion Boxing Hall Of Fame

Thomas Hearns is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 2006. Nicknamed the "Motor City Cobra", and more famously "The Hitman", Hearns' tall, slender build and oversized arms and shoulders allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and become the first boxer in history to win world titles in five weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight.

Hearns was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1980 and 1984; the latter following his knockout of Roberto Durán. Hearns was known as a devastating puncher throughout his career, even at cruiserweight, despite having climbed up five weight classes. He is ranked number 18 on The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.[1] He currently ranks #28 in BoxRec ranking of the greatest pound for pound boxers of all time.[2] On June 10, 2012, Hearns was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert

Co-Founder Of Quicken Loans Owner NBA Cleveland Cavaliers

Daniel "Dan" Gilbert (born 17 January 1962) is the chairman and founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans Inc., the owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers, the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters, the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators and the NBA Developmental League's Canton Charge. He is also the operator of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio and chairman of JACK Entertainment (formerly Rock Gaming), which opened its first Horseshoe Casino (now JACK Cleveland Casino) in downtown Cleveland in May 2012.

Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its team members to downtown Detroit in August 2010, where Gilbert and the company are helping lead a revitalization of Detroit’s urban core. Today, Gilbert-owned businesses employ more than 14,000 people in the city.

In 2011, Gilbert's Rock Ventures group purchased several buildings in downtown Detroit, including the historic Madison Theatre Building, Chase Tower and Two Detroit Center (parking garage), Dime Building (renamed Chrysler House), First National Building and three smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue. In 2012, Rock Ventures (the umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance and integration of Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, investments and real estate) purchased the former Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Building, One Woodward Avenue, 1201 Woodward (Kresge Building), and five smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue and Broadway Street, totaling 630,000 square feet of commercial space in downtown Detroit. In 2013, Rock Ventures purchased the 1001 Woodward office tower, several smaller buildings in the downtown area and announced, along with The Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Detroit Economic Growth Group, a placemaking plan for revitalizing Detroit's urban core.

Lisa Phillips

Lisa Phillips

Detroit Cass Tech High School Principal

Principal Lisa Phillips has been at the helm of Cass Technical High School, a nationally-recognized, college-preparatory school of excellence since 2010. Principal Phillips' accomplishments are both copious and phenomenal.

Mrs. Phillips attended Mumford High School, Alabama State University and Wayne State University. She has studied Educational Reform at Harvard University and Oxford University in Oxford England. Mrs. Phillips was named "Teacher of the Year" for Newsweek Magazine and WDIV in 1998.

Mrs. Phillips also worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as Principal at Detroit Tech and Principal of Cody's Ninth Grade Academy. She is the mother of two wonderful adults, Lil Ronnie and Jasmine. She has been married for 27 years to Ronnie Phillips.

She is also a board member of The Presbyterian Village of Michigan. Mrs. Phillips attends Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and she is a devoted member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Detroit Bruce

Detroit Bruce



Leading The Detroit Ambassador Team for The Rock Family of Companies since 2011. Detroit Bruce. role is to showcase downtown Detroit and help share the story of the city’s resurgence. I have led countless tours of downtown Detroit properties, escorting everyone from Warren Buffett and Madonna to the Ambassador of Switzerland, pop superstar Usher, local, national and international business leaders, students, and journalists from around the world.

Bruce Rock Ventures career began in 1994 in Quicken Loans mortgage banking. I was promoted to vice president in 2003. Prior to my current role, I was CEO of In-House Realty, a Rock Ventures real estate services organization. Some have called him “Willy Wonka” or “The Man with the Hat.”

Dr. Sabrina Jackson

Dr. Sabrina Jackson

Renowned Public Speaker

People Expert

Dr. Sabrina Jackson, a native Detroiter and Cass Technical High School graduate completed her Master’s Degree at the tender age of 23 from Wayne State University. The charismatic and colorful Life Coach and sought after Speaker is known as “The People Expert”. She travels the world helping people with people, and even themselves. This inspiring force of nature is continuously busy training corporate executives, single mothers, gospel artists and professionals from all walks of life. 

Immensely evident with each group that she trains, is her passion for people. Dr. Sabrina’s analytical mind and a vivid gift of discernment led her to create personality assessment models Essential Colors and Essential Love Styles. Sabrina has written several books, with the latest entitled He is Not a Statistic, about raising her son Marcel. She has been privileged to speak for McDonald’s, the Tom Joyner Cruise, and the Detroit City Council. Her well informed, upbeat observations and insight have been showcased on Fox 2 Weekly. Her nonprofit Sabrina’s Girls helps teen girls develop Speaking skills.

Lastly, this award-winning speaker has embarked on a totally new enterprise by starting her own clothing line “The Dr. Sabrina Collection”. This line is for the woman who is extremely busy and require fashionable clothes that is ready- to- wear. 

Tommy Walker Jr.

Tommy Walker Jr.

Founder/ Creator Detroit Vs. Everybody

A Detroiter through and through, and graphic artist by trade, Detroit Vs. Everybody (DVE) founder Tommey Walker Jr. embodies the spirit of Detroit with his hustle and grind. Founded in 2012 to combat the media’s continual bashing and lack of cultural recognition for the place that has contributed so much to the world, DVE has become a rally cry for the city of Detroit. It is more than just a statement specifically about the city of Detroit, founded by an authentic Detroiter, creating in Detroit.

Tommey’s life experience as a Detroiter and community leader motivated him to share his creative gifts and entrepreneurial spirit to inspire transformative development in others; first in self, then in the community, and then the world. The DVE brand’s metaphor for faith to overcome adversity resounds throughout human kind. The brand inspires self-expression, self- self discipline, and self-development; particularly among those who doubt themselves. From the visual arts to musical arts, from education to athletics, from communications to business, from an individual in Detroit to throughout the world, the message is universally moving.

From a low profile perspective, Walker has created and continues to create jobs for otherwise unemployed inspiring, then citizens of Detroit by keeping all production in-house with no outsourcing.  Walker and his team have built DVE into a globally successful brand and business by inspiring those who doubt themselves and their dreams, to realizing them no matter what their circumstances might be. With six locations throughout metro Detroit and numerous retailers around the country, DVE has “bottled the lightening” with lifestyle products designed and produced with the transformative DNA of Detroit, sold primarily on-line directly to the consumer. 

From a higher profile perspective, DVE draws considerable celebrity interest including Eminem and Big Sean, country singer Keith Urban, and Nas. DVE is a sought-after brand for many collaborations. Collaborations have included major professional sports leagues, General Motors, and Eminem’( title for his 2014 hit song and music video,  “Detroit Vs. Everybody” which includes some of Detroit’s top rap artists and has accumulated over 32 million views to date).

Detroit vs. Everybody is as much about its authentic and local origins as it is the product. Challenge is good for self development. Determination, motivation, commitment, faith and a mindset to never give up transform the curses of challenge into the blessings of achievement and the more formidable the curse, the more formidable the blessing.  When Detroit was the quintessential underdog,  Detroit vs Everybody, and Detroit prevailed.

Kierra "KiKi" Sheard

Kierra "KiKi" Sheard

Gospel Singer Fashion Designer

Just how mesmerizing is Kierra Sheard’s voice? Captivating enough to shut down a noisy audience until you can hear a pin drop. Case in point: Sheard’s recent Grammy Week performance at BET’s annual Music Matters showcase. Those lucky enough to be in the audience were treated to a brief but powerful set that included a song about insecurities, both physical and emotional in her latest single,  “Flaws,” as well as a goose bump-raising cover of the Mary J. Blige classic “No More Drama.” That colorful versatility provides the creative blueprint for Sheard’s contemporary urban inspirational sound.

“It’s about singing an inspiring song that everyone can listen to,” explains Sheard, “especially those people who may never step foot in a church. It’s about R&B/hip-hop and gospel beats mixed with Coldplay and other pop/rock sounds—but always with a positive message.”

Sheard delivers that and more on her Stellar Award-nominated fifth album, Graceland (Karew Records), which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s and iTunes’ Gospel Albums charts. Leading off with the exuberant pop-infused single “2nd Win,” the set is now spinning off its second single, the ballad “Flaws,” which provides an introspective about life’s insecurities.

“I know I try to claim that I’m flawless then I look in the mirror,” says Sheard, who confesses to an ongoing battle with weight. “But you have to get to the place where you’re content with what God has given you and not go by what society says is beautiful. That’s why I love and am excited about ‘Flaws’: any human being can relate to that message.”

To help further craft her signature sound, Sheard collaborated for the first time with Grammy Award-winning pop songwriter Diane Warren (Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion) on “Flaws.” She also teamed with rising songwriter/producer Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Fantasia, Michelle Williams) on the ballad “Save Me.” Rounding out Sheard’s suite of collaborators: her longtime producer/brother J. Drew (“2nd Win”) and songwriters Justin Jones, Justin Brooks and Lakisha Barnes. Additional standout selections range from the folky, guitar-driven mid-tempo title track to the rap-accented anthem “Moving Forward.”

Triggering what is arguably her best and most versatile work to date, Graceland brims with self-introspection and lessons learned as a fearless Sheard bares her soul and shares a revelatory journey that anyone can personally embrace. Her versatility, however, stretches beyond music.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in psychology from Wayne State University, Sheard is currently working on a master’s degree in clinical psychology. A budding entrepreneur as well, she started her own clothing line June 20, 2015 entitled Eleven60.

A self-professed “people person,” Sheard fervently believes in giving back. She’s the founder of BRL (Bold! Right! Life!), a national organization with 15 local chapters dedicated to youth empowerment ( 

Being able to “express myself and inspire others is an amazing, fun thing,” says Sheard of her various ventures. “But at the same time, I’m always trying to make it bigger and better.” Sheard’s quest began when she launched her professional solo career in 2004. Gifted with a mezzo-soprano range soaring from angelic riffs to deep lows, Sheard is a next-generation member of pioneering inspirational group, the multi-Grammy Award winning, Clark Sisters. Its members include the singer’s three aunts and her mother, Karen Clark Sheard. Singing in her pastor father’s church from the age of six, Sheard later appeared on two songs from her mother’s Grammy-nominated 1997 solo debut, Finally Karen. One song, “The Will of God,” earned the then nine-year-old a Stellar Award for Best Children’s Performance.

After honing her skills as a backing vocalist for her mother and the Clark Sisters, Sheard came into her own. The 30-year-old Detroit native gained notoriety out of the box with her 2004 debut album I Owe You. That was followed by 2006’s This Is Me. The Grammy Award-nominated sophomore set bowed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Albums chart. Two years later came Bold Right Life and then 2011’s Free, her first album on the Sheard family’s Karew Records. Hit singles include “You Don’t Know,” “Why Me” and “God in Me.

“Fans have told me they want message-oriented music they can listen to without feeling they have to be at a revival,” says Sheard of her work on Graceland. “Quality, fun music with an inspirational message that you can play at home, in a shop or bang in your car with the windows down … that’s my calling.”