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One sport Grant never played was football. Not because he didn’t want to, but because his father forbade him to play untill he was in high school. “ I didn’t want him dealing with pressures of comparison,” said Calvin, his father.
Even though he didn’t play football, Grant still had to deal with comparison. He was a shy and quiet child who never liked the idea of being special. He wanted to fade in the background, just be one of the gang. But that really wasn’t possible, everyone knew that Grant’s father was Calvin Hill, the greatest football player. Calvin was the NFL rookie of the year in 1969.
“I’ve always wanted to blend in and be like everybody else,” Grant says. “I didn’t want anybody, especially my friends, thinking I was better then them. I just wanted to be a down-to-earth guy and have my own identity.”
Like most other kids, Grant played pickup games with his friends. He worked on his moves in the driveway. Sometimes he’d fantasize about winning a big game with the last-second shot. He would video tape games, just so he could play them over and over again. He would sit in front of the television set and analyze the game. Grant would not only watch the ball but also watch the floor. He would notice if a player set a nice screen way from action, or worked particularly hard on defense. He became a true student of the game.
When grant went to high school he was asked to play on the varsity team, but he was devastated, he told the coach he much rather play on the junior varsity team. Calvin had gotten a call from one of the assistant coaches about the decision to elevate grant to the varsity team. It was an unusual move – Grant was barely 14 years old. But Calvin felt his son could handle it. But suprisingly when Calvin told him the news he burst into tears. Grant did not want to be above his friends.
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Grant average 11 points a game in his first year on the varsity team. As a sophomore, his scoring average increased to 17 points. As a junior, he averaged 25 points, and as a senior became one of the top dominate players in the nation, averaging 30 points a game. Grant had a great high school career. He was named Northern Virginia Player of the year three times, and he led his school to the semi-finals of the Virginia State high school basketball tournament twice. Grant discovered that his friends still liked him. As a matter of fact, he was more popular then ever. “People started wanting to talk with me more,” he remembers. “Girls were interested in me too.”
By the time he was a freshman in college Grant was 6’8”. He was quick, and had a great leaping ability. Right then his college coach, Coach “K” knew he had the skills to become one of the finest players in college. He could play any position on the floor.
At the 1994 NBA draft, Detroit Piston’s director of player personnel Billy McKinley was the most nervous person in the room. The pistons had the number three pick, and the desperately wanted Grant Hill. But McKinley was worried that Grant might be taken.
There were tears of joy, the Pistons, who won consecutive NBA championships in 1989 and 1990 had fallen on hard times recently. It was time to rebuild and Grant was the foundation of that project.
Before long he signed contracts with Fila shoes, Shick razors, GMC trucks and Sprite. Those deals boosted his income by five million dollars.
After all of this Grant became Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 1994, NBA rookie of the Month in November of 1994, his first month in the league. In 1995 he became the first rookie to play in the NBA all-star game. And Co-Winner of the NBA rookie of the year award in 1995.
During his 3rd NBA season, the 1996 – 1997 season, he played in eighty of the eighty-two games the team played. Shooting a career high of 21.4 points a game. In January her was named player of the month, probably for his incredible January 8th game against the LA Lakers where he scored 34 points, 15 rebounds, 14 assist in a career high of fifty-three minutes. For that game he was also named player of the week (January 19th) He also one the leagues IBM award. For his third time he went to the NBA all-star game, and was part of the starting five.
The 1997 – 1998 season was nothing less then usual; Hill had a great year, missing only one of his eighty-two games. This season he reached a career high of 37 points. And making it a routine he yet again was one of the starting five in his fourth NBA all-star game.
In his 1998 – 1999 season he ended up as tenth in the NBA scoring 21.1 points per game. Scoring a career high of 46 points in a game verse Washington. He was named NBA player of the week May 2nd.
In his 1999-2000 season he played seventy-four of his eighty-two games. He averaged 34 points a game, named player of the week on January 9th. Broke his left ankle in the end of the season, causing him to miss the last 3 games of the season.
After sitting out a couple games he realized he wanted to win a championship, and if Detroit couldn’t do it, he was going to find a team that he could do it with. He went and visited many teams on the league including Miami. He realized the best decision was to go to Orlando. He joined the Orlando Magic this season, his 2000 – 2001 season. Orlando jumped to get this five-time NBA all-star forward, Grant Hill.
Recently along with his previous deals with Fila shoes, Shick razors, Gmc trucks and Sprit, he has joined also with Lea, Tag Heuer, Wilson, McDonald, NWA airlines, and Lamisil. These deals have incredibly increased his income.
Grant has grown a great deal since his pick-up game days. “He is the flip side of everything bad in the game, an authentic role model who unlike Charles Barkley, actually wants to be a role model, to the point of ever pursuing it. So while his peers pugnaciously talk-trash, rim-rattle, fight with there coaches and demand more money, Grant is quietly and unselfishly playing his games, signing autographs by the thousands, and looking around for his next Charity to donate to,” Michael P. Geffner, The Sporting News.