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Grant Hill ( 1972 - )  Category ( Athletes ) [suggest a correction]

Grant HillDespite undeniable athletic genes, a strong work ethic and exceptional talent, Grant Hill has never fulfilled his potential in professional basketball.

Blame it on his body.

Since being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1994 after an outstanding college career at Duke, Hill has missed large chunks of five NBA seasons with a variety of injuries and ailments, including a chronic ankle sprain, a recurring groin inury, a hernia and a life-threatening staph infection.

Ironically, this run of bad luck began at the end of Hill's signature season, in which he averaged 25.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Hill sprained his ankle just before the Pistons entered the playoffs, tried to play through the injury, and wound up aggravating the ankle to the point where he had to be shut down for the rest of the post-season.

Up until that point, only Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird had posted better numbers through their first six seasons.

Hill was traded to the Orlando Magic the following summer, but the ankle limited him to a total of 47 games in four years, including the washout of an entire season. In March of 2003, surgery on his ankle triggered a rare blood infection that almost killed him.

After that low point, he averaged 15.1 points in 2004-05, only to miss most of 2005-06 with a knee injury. In 2007, the Magic traded him to Phoenix, where he has relatively injury free and settled into a comfortable niche as a role player.

Widely held up as a role model and seen as potentially the "face of the league" after Michael Jordan retired, the 6-foot-8 Hill has involved himself in myriad social issues and Democratic Party politics during the off-seasons (of which he had more than most players).

According to his official Website, "Grant believes that he can make a difference and has pledged his time and financial support to a myriad of community investment programs including a $1 million donation to his alma mater Duke University, a $50,000 donation to benefit Child Abuse Prevention, the establishment of the Calvin Hill Scholarship Endowment Fund at the Duke Divinity School in honor of his father, the Grant Hill Achiever Scholarships in Orlando and Detroit (scholarships to assist students in pursuit of an undergraduate education) and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Grant was awarded the 2001 Richard and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award and served as vice-chairman of the 1999 Special Olympics World Games."

His father, Calvin Hill, graduated from Yale -- where he was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush) and a star running back drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Born in Dallas, Grant grew up in Reston, VA, where he was an All-American basketball player at South Lakes high School (he never played football).

Heavily recruited, he chose to attend Duke, where he played on national championship teams in 1991 and 1992. By the time he finished, he had become the first player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to collect more than 1,900 poinrs, 700 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocked shots. He also became the eighth player in Duke history to have his jersey retired.

Hill married R&B singer Tamia in 1999. They have two daughters, Myla and Lael, and live in Phoenix.

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