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Hill Impacts Lives Wherever He Goes

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

November 15, 2013

Pacers point guard George Hill always chooses to affect lives wherever he is, in Indianapolis or elsewhere. As an NBA player and a well-known starter, he has a platform that he uses as best he can to impact lives. The NBA announced on Friday that Hill is the recipient of their Community Assist Award for his work in October. Hill is the third Pacers player to receive this award, joining Jermaine O'Neal (December 2006) and Reggie Miller (May 2002).

Prior to tonight’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird and a Kia representative will present Hill with the David Robinson Plaque during an on-court ceremony. In addition, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Hill’s behalf, split between Kids Against Hunger and Wish For Our Heroes.

“It means a lot,” Hill said of the honor. “That’s what I try to base my life on is being a positive impact for the community... and everything I put my hands on. Going to Haiti and delivering food or helping kids into AAU programs or to get into schools – anything I just try to do I just try to impact lives. It means a lot to receive an award, to get noticed for a little bit but I don’t do it for that.”

For the Haiti trip, Hill partnered with Kids Against Hunger to pass out food to the community and host a basketball clinic for kids.

“It was awesome,” Hill said. “Great experience, great overall feeling to see the kids smiling. It was just a true blessing.”

Each morning of the trip, Hill conducted the basketball clinic. One of the days involved about 150 kids playing on an outdoor court in 108 degree weather with just two baskets. After speaking to them, he taught them about basketball and played some fun games.

Related: Hill Visits Haiti with Kids Against Hunger

Hill is an Indianapolis native, growing up on 34th Street and attending Broad Ripple High School. He remained in town to play collegiately at IUPUI. It was announced earlier this week that he’ll go into their athletics Hall of Fame early next year.

“I didn’t have that growing up as a kid, people who gave back to the community and things like that,” he explained. “It was a dream of mine when I made it to always give back and be a positive impact and great role model.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel looks to Hill to lead on the basketball court as the point guard. Vogel expects Hill to be an extension of the coach on the court, positioning the team in the best situation to succeed. Off the floor, coach says he’s seen nobody better.

“George Hill does more in the community than anybody that I’ve ever been around in this league,” said Vogel. “I’ve been around a lot of people that have been very supportive and helpful in the community but you almost have to rein George back because often he’s doing too much. He has a giving heart and it’s great to see him recognized.”

Hill, 27, admits that it’s hard to balance with the demands of being a professional athlete. And although it’s not always easy, making the extra effort is always worth it to him.

“It’s hard, but basketball is temporary. Life is forever. If it just takes 30 minutes out of my schedule to go talk to some kids or to go feed people or help do this, it’s well worth the time. I always have time to help out the community and just do the best I can.”

Hill is about as low key as they come in the NBA. He can often be seen fishing on Geist Reservoir, eating at Benihana’s or attending either IUPUI or his AAU teams’ games.

This Pacers’ group is willing to do more community service than what is required by the NBA. When they hear a teammate is doing something, at least a few others will be by his side. That’s the type of culture Vogel has in place and Hill has helped further that cause.

“George has been an amazing community partner for us since we got him a few years ago,” said Kelli Towles, the Pacers’ Director of Community Relations. “He always goes above and beyond. He’s helped us with the ‘Kids Against Hunger’ project, he just with us to visit the disabled American veterans at the veteran’s hospital. He’s been there for our shop with the Pacers program. I can’t really think of too many community programs that he has not been a part of since he’s come back to Indianapolis.”

Learn More: Kids Against Hunger of Central Indiana »

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