Grant Hill is a renaissance man.
From double degrees to double-doubles, the African-American basketball player always leaves his fans wanting more; wondering what could have been.
Hill was dubbed “great” by The Greatest. His game earned him gold at the Olympics. His talents saw him soaring to the top of the National Basketball Association. But even Kings like LeBron have ankle problems.
When injuries spiraled out of control and nearly ended his professional career (and his life), Hill found a way back to the top. Hill’s success is a result of brains, not just brawn.
Grant Hill, a genius alongside the likes of Michaelangelo. His Sistine Chapel was the court. His brush — a ball.
Early Life & College Basketball
On October 5, 1972, Grant Henry Hill was born in Dallas, Texas, seven months after the release of “The Godfather”.
His parents, Janet Hill and Calvin Hill (a former NFL stand-out), moved the family to Virginia when Grant was young. Hill balled out at South Lakes High School in Northern Virginia. His efforts won him a spot on the McDonald’s All-America team, Virginia’s Mr. Basketball, and a scholarship to Duke University, all in 1990.
Hill’s mother wanted him to become a Hoya, his father wanted a Hill in Chapel Hill. Grant chose to become a Blue Devil instead.
The rest, they say, is history. But for Hill, most of college was history. Two years after winning his second NCAA men’s basketball national championship in 1992, Hill graduated from Duke University with a double degree in history and political science.
Hill’s Duke jersey, much like Hill himself, is retired. Unlike Hill, the jersey was retired after his college career ended in 1994. It would be nearly two decades before Hill would retire himself.
After college, Hill was the NBA’s first “Next MJ”. The title is an honor and a curse. No player wants to be the “Next MJ”, even though they understand the compliment. Everyone just wants to be Kobe Bryant (RIP).
Hill’s pre-draft hype was for real. Already knighted the next savior of The Association, Hill’s draft stock rocketed.
While Hill’s stock rose, NBA stocks in Detroit, Michigan were falling. The Bad Boys of Detroit were aging and the franchise desperately needed a reboot. The Pistons were a long way off from their 1990 NBA championship form and with Michael Jordan in retirement, Detroit wanted an MJ of their own.
The Blue Devil seemed an angel in Detroit, and for six seasons, he was.
Grant Hill’s Early NBA Career
Grant Hill was selected third overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1994 NBA Draft. The Dallas Mavericks selected Jason Kidd over Hill with the No. 2 pick.
Kidd and Hill, after spectacular rookie seasons, shared the NBA Rookie of the Year award as Co-Rookies of the Year. It was only the second time in NBA history the trophy was shared.
On his first try, Grant Hill received more All-Star votes than Michael Jordan, which is pretty damn impressive, though not a perfect measure of ability. Hill was the first rookie to receive so many votes for an All-Star game.
The NBA All-Star’s rookie career was so stellar that some people think his Rookie Card is still worth over $2,000. Other people think that’s crazy.
The professional basketball player was far from a one-hit-wonder. From his rookie season on, Hill stacked stats like flapjacks. In his six seasons in Detroit, Hill made All-Star five times.
In 1996, after suffering a first-round playoff defeat to Shaquille O’Neal and the Orlando Magic, Hill turned his frustration into Olympic Gold during his summer on the USA Basketball Team in Atlanta, Georgia. During that same summer, Hill was honored with the NBA Sportsmanship Award, recognizing Hill’s character and class.
Three years later, the end of the 1990s marked the end of Hill’s time in Detroit. Grant Hill and the Detroit Pistons had been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round during their last four postseasons. The NBA player sustained an injury he would never quite escape in the 2000 playoffs; the Piston’s doctors misdiagnosed it.
It was time for a change.
Injuries & Resurgence
Grant Hill’s broken ankle would turn out to be worse than anyone thought.
The Orlando Magic had no clue how bad the injury would be and quickly added free agent Hill following the 2000 season. Hill joined a strong starting five with Tracy McGrady. The Magic may have needed Hill, but Hill needed time.
Hill returned from his injury way-too-fast and only made it worse. Hill’s ankle issues forced him to play less than 50 games in his first three seasons with Orlando. He underwent surgery before the 2003 season when the unthinkable happened – Hill developed a serious staph infection that cost him six months in a hospital, his next season, and quite nearly his life.
After his battle with MRSA, Hill was welcomed back to the NBA with open arms. Hill wasn’t there for congratulations, though. Hill wanted buckets. He made the All-Star team in his first season back.
He spent three more seasons with the Magic before joining Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. Hill retired a Los Angeles Clipper after the 2013 season.
Hill never returned to form after his surgery, though his shooting efficiency did improve and he was still very good as a role player. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2018, mostly based on how good he was for those six healthy seasons in Detroit.
Hill may have been the best that never was.
Endorsements & Holdings
Only Hill and his accountant know how much he made off these Sprite ads, but we can assume it was a sweet deal.
When it came to a shoe deal, Micheal Jordan chose the American brand Nike. Wanting to be more like Michaelangelo than Mike, Hill chose the Italian shoes.
Hill inked a deal worth $80 million with Italian shoe brand Fila in 1994. It was a surprise to many because Fila was relatively unknown, but his debut sneakers — the GH1 — sold 1.5 million pairs in his first year alone.
The Hills even outsold Jordans at one time, which is difficult to do. And even though Charles Barkley claims the “cheap” Filas contributed to Hill’s injuries, Grant Hill signed a lifetime endorsement deal with the Italian brand after retirement.
Hill is far from a retiree simply receiving checks. He’s active as Vice-Chair of the Board for the Atlanta Hawks, the NBA team that he co-owns. Hill’s investing group bought the team in 2015 for $850 million. The new ownership drafted young star Trae Young three years later as they try to turn around the bumbling franchise.
As long as Hill is mentoring Young, Hawks fans should be excited.
Television & Movie Appearances
Grant Hill is a smart dude. Grant Hill is a basketball dude. Grant Hill is a smart basketball dude. So when NBA TV, TNT, ESPN, or CBS need a handsome former baller to speak intelligently on the state of the league, they call Hill.
From a host of NBA TV’s cult-classic “NBA Inside Stuff” to an analyst spot on CBS Sports, Hill’s television career is better than most.
He even played himself on the much-beloved “Home Improvement” in 1998. It was awesome.
Author’s Note: Everyone hates those late 90a Pistons’ jerseys. I think they’re bitchin’. Deal with it.
Grant Hill’s Personal Life
No examination of a celebrity net worth is complete without considering their home life. Some professional athletes lose large amounts of cash due to divorce court or child support. Retired American basketball player Grant Hill is not one of those athletes.
In 1996, Anita Baker introduced Grant Hill to Canadian-singer Tamia. The pair has been married since July 1999 (The No. 1 song: Will Smith – Wild Wild West). Grant and wife Tamia Hill have two daughters – Myla Grace Hill and Lael Rose Hill.
Surely, Hill’s two daughters will have expensive college tuitions one day, maybe even at Duke. Whatever the cost will be, I doubt Hill is too worried about it.
Grant Hill Net Worth
Grant Hill has amassed an estimated net worth of $250 million. Unless you’re a billionaire like Mike, that’s bonkers.
For a star whose career was cut short by injury before it could truly take off, his net worth is pretty damn impressive.
After reading this story, though, it shouldn’t be a surprise. The renaissance baller worked hard for every penny and leaves this fan wondering…
“Damn… imagine how much he’d be worth if he’d stayed healthy!”