Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are everywhere in the news ever since the slap gate incident during the Oscars. As NBA fanatics, we wanted to know all the connections between the Smiths and the NBA. Turns out, there is quite a lot of it as we dug up. So in today’s feature of Jada Pinkett Smith, we present to you, Jada’s first serious boyfriend: Grant Hill.
In 2018, Jada revealed that she and Grant Hill dated between 1993 and 1995 while answering a fan’s question. She said that Hill was the first boyfriend she had ever brought home.
The relationship obviously didn’t work out as Jada married Will Smith in 1997. The former basketball star married singer Tamia in 1999 and the couple has two daughters Myla Grace, 17, and Lael Rose, 12.
Now imagine the scenes, if a 6 ‘8 former NBA star in Grant Hill was to slap Chris Rock.
Grant Hill’s start to life in the NBA
After school, Grant Hill played for the Duke Blue Devils for four years. He was the 1994 ACC Player of the Year, a two-time NCAA All-American, and a two-time NCAA champion. Grant Hill was considered one of the best players in Duke history and one of the greatest college basketball players of his era.
In 1994, the Detroit Pistons selected Hill with the third overall pick in the NBA draft. In his first season, he averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He was the co-winner of the 1995 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, along with Jason Kidd. He was quickly becoming one of the best all-around stars in the NBA thriving in all departments of the game.
In his first 6 NBA seasons, he had made 5 All-Star appearances. The 1999-00 year was his best scoring year, where he averaged 25.8 points per game.
When did it go downhill?
But his career went downhill after a horror ankle injury in 2000. Injuries plagued his first 4 seasons with the Orlando Magic. He only played 46 games from 2000-01 to 2002-03 season.
Surgery for the injury in 2003 made things worse and forced him to miss the entire 2003-04 season.
In the 2004-05 season, Hill came back and played 67 games for the Magic. He averaged 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals. This was his best season ever since the 1999-00 season with the Pistons. He also made the All-Star team that year.
Hill was then traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2007. He played in the Western Conference Finals in 2010 for the Suns. Then in 2012-13, he was traded to the LA Clippers.
In 2013, Grant Hill announced his retirement from the NBA. He played 18 seasons in the NBA averaging 16.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game in 1026 games.
Once compared to the legend Michael Jordan, Hill’s story is one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in the NBA.