Although the University of Michigan has been knocked out of the NCAA March Madness tournament, it's popped up on social media for reasons that have little to do with the success of the team. Recently, ESPN commentator Jalen Rose was seen sporting a shirt that said "Black as hail" while attending a Michigan game, and now, many want to know what the phrase means.
What does "Black as hail" mean?
As it turns out, "Black as hail" is a pretty popular phrase on the Michigan campus, and that's because it's a unique way for Black students to show pride in both their school and their community. Essentially, "Black as hail" combines the phrase "Black as Hell" with the University of Michigan's fight song "Hail to the Victors." It's a phrase that only exists in Michigan sports culture, but it's very popular on campus.
The "Black as hail" swag that Jalen was rocking at the Michigan game may be specific to Michigan, but there are plenty of people who were curious how they could get their own version of the sweatshirt after they saw Jalen wearing one. You can get your very own version of the shirt here, although some may be confused if you decide to start rocking the shirt without a connection to Michigan.
Jalen Rose played for Michigan for three seasons.
Before joining the NBA, Jalen played for Michigan for three seasons from 1991 to 1994. He elected to join the NBA instead of finishing his senior year, and played in the league for over a decade. Since retiring from the NBA in 2007, Jalen has made a career for himself in the world of sports broadcasting, first joining SportsCenter as an analyst in 2012 and eventually becoming one of the hosts of NBA Countdown.
In spite of his enormous success since leaving Michigan, it's clear that Jalen still has a great deal of pride for his alma mater. He even appeared on ESPN recently to discuss how excited he was that his team had made it to the Sweet 16 in this year's tournament. Unfortunately, the team fell to Villanova in that round, so his hopes for a national championship have been dashed.
Other Michigan fans loved Jalen's shirt.
Jalen's decision to attend Michigan's Sweet 16 game earned him plenty of praise from fans of Michigan, and tons of people also had positive things to say about his choice of attire. The "Black as hail" gear doesn't appear to be official merch of the University of Michigan. Instead, it's sold by Relive the Bar, an organization dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Black alumni and their alma mater.
"We are able to fuel our initiatives through apparel that represents the unapologetic pride in our culture," their site says, explaining their mission and how they fund it. "We appreciate every purchase as it helps to advance our mission of connecting alumni through a common interest of support of students and community.