After 41 years covering sports, ABC 7 Chicago’s Jim Rose to retire

Rose is calling it quits after 41 years in Chicago and 50 years in broadcast journalism.

SHARE After 41 years covering sports, ABC 7 Chicago’s Jim Rose to retire
Jim Rose (right) with Michael Jordan in 1989.

Jim Rose (right) with Michael Jordan in 1989.

ABC 7

In his 41 years covering sports for ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV), Jim Rose has savored the championships and been doused with some celebratory champagne.

But as any Chicagoan can attest, he’s endured a lot of losing. As he prepares to retire as sports director and anchor, Rose has a clear-eyed view of the city’s pro franchises.

“I guess we’re near the bottom of the hill, trying to climb back to that championship ledge,” Rose said.

He feels best about the Cubs, currently in a pennant race, but sees the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks as works in progress. The White Sox? They’re in the worst shape, he said.

But for all that, Rose said, “I couldn’t have been more fortunate than to come to Chicago.” It has passionate fans, he said, and he got to cover Michael Jordan from the very start, getting a front-row seat to view six NBA championships and the greatest sports story of the era.

Rose turned 70 in July, and he’s planned for a year and a half to move on. He will sign off for good Sept. 15 with his sportscast at 10 p.m.

Jim Rose of ABC 7 Chicago

Jim Rose of ABC 7 Chicago

ABC 7

Big break

MJ certainly was his favorite athlete to cover and may have been responsible for an early break in Rose’s career.

It was 1984, the Bulls had just drafted Jordan and he and Charles Barkley were at a practice for the Olympic team. Camera crews had more access in those days, and Rose said Jordan and Barkley got to trash-talking. That led to a game of one-on-one with an ABC 7 camera rolling. Jordan faked out Barkley and soared over him for a dunk.

“At that point I realized just the kind of player the Bulls had. He was Magic Johnson and Julius Erving in one body,” Rose said. Sadly, he said the tape from that era never made it to digital formatting and has been lost.

Rose said his toughest sports story wound up marking social progress. It was the early 1990s, and after the PGA decided it would no longer bring golf tournaments to clubs that excluded Blacks, Rose headed to the elite Olympic Fields Country Club, which had hosted PGA events, for reaction. He said the south suburban club, then whites only, showed him the door for bringing up the subject.

Subsequent coverage brought pressure on the business leaders in the club.

“There were captains of industry there. Some of them I knew. I bought a car from one. And within about a year, they started accepting African Americans and eventually women,” Rose said, calling it a “time of real social change.”

‘A new door’

Looking ahead, Rose said his first plans are to “take a couple of weeks and catch my breath. I’ve been doing this for 50 years now. This is a new door that’s opening. I’m not going to be in media — that part is done.”

Rose said he may go back to school to study 20th century European history, a topic that’s interested him since his days in the U.S. Army. He was sports director for AFN-TV in Berlin. He recalled being forever changed by a visit to the graves at Normandy, many of teenagers who died for a free world.

After the Army, there were stops at TV stations in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, and Syracuse, New York, before he got to Chicago.

Rose has been involved in other programs and in charitable campaigns at ABC 7. He co-hosted the station’s coverage of the Bud Billiken Parade, one of the largest African American parades in the country, for nearly 30 years. Rose also contributed to the station’s award-winning “Our Chicago” segments and hosted coverage of the Chicago Auto Show.

Rose said his wife, Lakesha, has a growing interior design business and they plan to stay in Chicago.

The Latest
Everyone’s tolerance is different, and sometimes love isn’t enough to get you through challenges in relationships.
She treats her grown son like he’s the more mature one.
The FBI early Sunday named 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the subject involved in the shooting.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said there would be hearings to determine what happened.