Jemele Hill, 44, was the self-described “neighborhood tomboy” growing up around Seven Mile.
From those sports-loving origins, she was a softball standout at Detroit Mumford.
A love of newspaper sports sections was another constant throughout her youth.
After a high school journalism program and participation in a Detroit Free Press-sponsored summer program, she decided on a career path.
She would fulfill her dream of becoming a sports journalist, working for several newspapers, which includes a stint covering Michigan State athletics for the Free Press.
From there, she became one of the few female sports columnists in the when she accepted a job with the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel.
She would go on to write for ESPN.com and become a TV personality, starring on several programs, including a stint as a SportsCenter anchor.
She now is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and hosts two podcasts.
The key to a successful media career?
As the keynote speaker for the Detroit Pistons’ series of webinars called “Girls Dream Big,” she cited an insatiable curiosity and a love of reading.
“Reading the sports sections of the Free Press and The Detroit News helped me to develop a love of journalism and of writing,” she said Thursday afternoon.
“I was already an avid reader, which I think is a key component to being a good journalist. In addition to having curiosity, you also have to love to read, love language and communicate with people.”
More than 350 registered to listen to the second of the series devoted to notable women who have made careers in the media.
Reality TV star and host Rachel Lindsey, radio personality Shannon Murphy, Fox 2 anchor Hilary Golston and MLive.com reporter Lauren Williams and Hill spoke of their experiences of finding success in the typically male-dominated field.
“The No. 1 thing has been mentorship,” Golston said. “There are many ways you can have formal mentorship, programs you can take advantage of. If you can find someone who is invested in you, someone willing to tell you what’s right, tell you what you really need to work on to help you manage through the process, and you know that person is truly invested in you. If you can find that type of mentor, I think that’s absolutely the most important thing you can do.”
The first outing featured former Detroit Shock standout Deanna Nolan, WNBA commissioner Cathy Englebert, NBA G League representative Stacey Lovelace, Olympian ice dancer Meryl Davis and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is among the scheduled panelists for the two remaining webinars.
The series is being held in response to the cancellation of a women’s summit that was going to be held March 20 when the Pistons were scheduled to face the Golden State Warriors.
Sports leagues have suspended games in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but community relations and sponsorship activation continue. Priority Health is a co-sponsor for the series.
That’s led to the Pistons pivoting to the series of webinars.
To register for future webinars, go here: https://www.nba.com/pistons/girls-dream-big-series.