"Something All Our Own", The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art.

Tamia is a chart-topping R&B artist with four Grammy nominations.

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    Maya Angelou (1928 - )

Give and go: Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill

By Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic
Feb. 24, 2011 06:36 PM

Each week, The Republic spotlights a member of the Suns for a series of off-court questions.

Question: Did your father (former NFL running back Calvin Hill) want you to play football?

Answer: He wanted me to play and had a dream of me playing. The problem was he didn’t play until he was in high school. So the rule in our household was that I wasn’t allowed to play organized football until I was a freshman in high school. Growing up on the sidelines and locker room, all I wanted to do was play football. Not being able to play was like dangling a prize in front of me. At 14, when I was allowed, I resented it and didn’t want to play. To this day, I’m not a huge fan of football because I resented it as a kid.

Q: What position would you have played?

A: I used to play in the street and neighborhood. I went a lot of times to Redskin Park and to Cleveland (for practices) so I had pretty good hands. I don’t know what’s happened to them. And I used to throw the ball pretty well. I was pretty accurate. My dad was a quarterback in high school, went to Yale and they switched him to running back. I think he always wanted me to be a quarterback. He always worked on my throw and spiral. The problem was when I was 14, I was 6-5 and about 150 pounds. One hit and I probably would’ve been done.

Q: Is that why your full-court passes are so good?

A: That’s why when we (Duke) were down to Kentucky (in the 1992 NCAA East Regional final), Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) tapped me to make that pass (to Christian Laettner for a game-winning shot). We’d practice that baseball pass every day. Everybody would. I was usually the most accurate. It was good coaching on his part to have me do that (laughing).

Q: Where do you stand on your documentary about Duke track and field coaching great Al Buehler (Hill is executive producer of “Starting at the Finish Line”)?

A: We got accepted to the Atlanta Film Festival. We were turned down by the Phoenix Film Festival. We’re waiting on the Tribeca/ESPN Film Festival. We’ve talked to HBO, TNT, CBS, NBC. We’re just in the process of trying to find a home. We had talks with Oprah’s group about going on before the show shuts down and bringing the pro athletes this coach has touched, and we talked to OWN about coming on her network. We want to find the right place. It’s not about making money. It’s about the right avenue so people can appreciate it.

Q: Why is it important to tell his story?

A: I just knew him more as a teacher and thought of him as a man of high character. As we really dug into it, we started to see he was involved with civil rights, Title IX, women’s rights, the international scene. He brought the Russians to Durham (N.C.) during the ’60s and the Cold War, which was unheard of. He influenced a lot of high-profile athletes, like John Carlos and Tommy Smith, after everyone abandoned them. We have great interviews from them about how he stuck in their corner and advised them. I always felt there are great stories in sports that inspire.

Q: What is your role?

A: It started off I was just being interviewed as a basketball player who took his class. I came on as an executive producer and got involved more and more and was asked to narrate it. It wasn’t my baby from the get-go but I put a lot of work into it and I’m proud of it.

Q: What is Myla’s (his 9-year-old daughter) best sport?

A: Right now, I’d say softball. We’re going to go hard this summer. She’s going to train with me. She’s ready for it. She wants to try lacrosse. She loves to throw the football and is always asking why women can’t play football. She plays tennis and soccer. She really hits the ball well in softball.

Q: What did you do in the Bahamas during All-Star break?

A: A little swimming. Got some massages. Enjoyed the local cuisine. Worked out a little bit. I didn’t watch any basketball, see the highlights of the game or have access to Twitter. It was good to get away.

Q: What is your favorite Tamia (his wife) song?

A: Probably “You Put a Move on My Heart.” “Officially Missing You.” Her new album is shaping up to be my favorite. I like the work she’s doing. She’s really in a good space and knows what she wants from her career. It’s fun to follow and be a fan. She sacrificed a lot because one of us has to take a bit of a backseat. I look forward to, when I’m done, allowing her to go out and do more and I can be Bobby Brown. Joke.

2 Responses to “Give and go: Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill”

  1. Till says:

    OMG, GH, Tamia is your wife?! Over and above NYT piece, you are even more awesome than ever. “You Put a Move…” is one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard and I always wondered, where did Tamia go with that incredible voice? Glad to hear she’s been busy raising a family with you. Looking forward to the album.

    Best wishes from a fellow Dukie.

  2. Travis says:

    We are he same age and I can say I truly admire you. You are everything I wish our professional athletes were. You are truly a role model and as a parent of a daughter that plays multiple sports I love that you are letting your daughter play everything. Not many people do anymore. I am finishing my degree in Nonprofit Management after many years. I wish we had more people like you really were role models for our youth and made an impact in our community. Thank you!

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