Jemele Hill is one of the leading women in sports and a proud alumni of Michigan State where she studied journalism and started off her career as a beat writer. In 2006 she became a national columnist for ESPN.com and sort of fell into on-camera roles on ESPN’s First Take, Around The Horn and Outside The Lines. In her own words, she never ” intended on being on camera” but it’s proof that you never know what is in The Creator’s plan for your life.
Inspiring and transformational are the two words that come to mind when I reflect on our conversation. From our first interaction via private message on LinkedIn, I felt the humbleness of her spirit. I reached out to Ms. Hill seeking advice on how to navigate this “sports world” as a black woman. She agreed to set up a phone conference with me. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement. For at least the last 5 years I’ve been following Jemele’s career; studying her and above all else admiring her knowledge of the game; from basketball to football she shares her analysis with passion and accuracy.
When the date and time was finally set for our phone conference I was a nervous wreck. I practiced what tone I would speak in, what jokes I would make to break the ice; I practiced how I would say my own name like I haven’t been saying it for the last 20 years. But what was amazing was how all of that flew out the window when I heard her voice. Her genuine and authentic nature far surpassed my expectations. She began to share stories from her times at the Detroit Free Press to her days as a beat writer for her alma mater. She encouraged me simply by taking time out of her day to speak to me. An unknown freelance sports professional just trying to figure it all out.
What she taught me was that her success is not her own. She’s willing to share her success with young, ambitious people who are where she once was; at the beginning of the journey. She shared with me the importance of building genuine relationships and staying the course. That was my biggest take away and the most important thing I wanted to share to others who may never get a chance to speak with one of the best in their career field.
It’s easy to give up when your dream isn’t traditional and doesn’t come with a blueprint. My dream of being one of the best woman sports broadcasters & analyst is no easy feat and many times giving up and choosing a career path more “realistic” seems like a favorable option but to be something you never been you have to do things that you’ve never done. Thank you Ms. Hill your sacrifices will never go in vain.