The life of dad: Reflections on fatherhood from Grant Hill

The life of dad: Reflections on fatherhood from Grant Hill

Excerpt

The life of dad: Reflections on fatherhood from Grant Hill

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Excerpted from The Life of Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood from Today’s Leaders, Icons, and Legendary Dads. Copyright © 2019 by Adams Media. Used with permission. 

For a five-year stretch in the late 1990s, Grant Hill lived in rarified basketball air. He won two national championships at Duke University for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, was selected as an All-American, and then was drafted third overall in the 1994 NBA Draft. Over the next eight years, he’d win an Olympic gold medal, make seven NBA All-Star teams, four All-NBA second teams, and one All-NBA first team. He was one of the most marketable and most likeable players the association had and seemed to be headed for all-time greatness. Unfortunately, he suffered from ongoing injuries. He managed to battle back and return to the league, playing admirably until the 2013 season, but he never regained his previous form.

Hill is now a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and part owner of the Atlanta Hawks. One of the traits that made Hill so popular during his playing career was his sterling image and integrity. His answers during most interviews were well thought out, and whether he was promoting his favorite charity or working as a spokesman for Sprite, he displayed charisma and character. When asked about his influences, he credits his father (who played in the NFL) and his mother, and sports in general for teaching him about life. As a father of two, he continues to lean on athletics to instill life lessons.

LOD: You’ve been around sports all of your life. What lessons do you take from your father, Calvin Hill, Coach K, and other coaches to pass along to your own kids?

Grant Hill: Coach K taught me that there are so many values that you can take from the game [basketball] and apply to life. There is hard work. There is preparation, discipline, collective responsibility, and pride. All these different things that he stressed makes him a great coach, teacher, and a leader. It also translated into great teams.

Not all of his teams win the championship, but for the most part they play and do things the right way. I think a lot of those values you can take with you off the court. I know I have. It stuck with me. I was a teenager, twenty-some-odd years ago, playing for Coach K, but I still think about those lessons and apply them in all facets of life.

Sometimes in life, you get caught up in trying to achieve and get ahead. In sports, sometimes you get a bit narcissistic. You worry about your legacy and your impact. I really feel ultimately that you are judged upon how your children turn out. What kind of people they are, what kind of values they have, and are they productive citizens, if you will. It is important as a parent to be engaged and involved. I was fortunate to have some great parents. They set the bar pretty high. For my wife and I, it is all about the kids.

The Takeaway: There’s No Substitute for Team Sports

As Hill said, the values children learn from athletics in general and team sports in particular carry over into society on nearly every level. Learning the value of hard work, preparation, dedication, responsibility, and pride—all while being physically and mentally active—makes sports a great outlet for kids, even if it’s only a passing interest when they’re younger.

You can support your kids’ foray into sports by offering positive feedback and encouragement, and backing up the coach’s lessons. Your kids will learn a lot… even if they’re not in a locker room with Coach K at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Excerpted from The Life of Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood from Today’s Leaders, Icons, and Legendary Dads. Copyright © 2019 by Adams Media. Used with permission.

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