Q&A: George Hill

Courtesy of Jody Genessy

On Jazz management giving him a directive to fill a much-needed leadership void:

“Definitely so. They said that’s one thing they wanted more of — a vocal leader here. I think Gordon (Hayward) is a great leader, but he’s more of a lead by example. He’s a very quiet guy, but he works extremely hard and everyone sees that. Everyone feeds off of that, but I’m just trying to bring a different aspect. He’s a lead-by-example-type of a guy. I’m a lead-by-example guy but also vocal because I’m the point guard. You need the point guard to be vocal. That’s my job and that’s all I’m trying to do here.”

On inspiring Rodney Hood for a 12-point fourth quarter in New York and a game-changing 7-0 personal run in Orlando:

“He wasn’t playing well at that time. We were neck and neck with them. I just told him we had a couple of minutes where we weren’t getting anything. I told him in a timeout — he wasn’t feeling well — I’m like, ‘It doesn’t matter how bad you’re feeling now or what’s happened the last 36 minutes, we just need Rodney Hood to play for three minutes and to give everything that you’ve got and make something happen on both ends of the floor.’ He came out right after that timeout and hit a three that was big and then hit a couple of other pull-ups and a layup. That’s what we needed. We need that spark and then after that spark some guys started feeling comfortable making shots and we ran away from (them).”

On trying to be a leader and helping while being sidelined with a thumb injury:

“It’s tough because I can’t get out there and help and be out there and fight with the guys, but the leadership on the bench sitting behind and telling them things that I see, if it’s not getting us enough energy, if it’s not making something happen, just talking, getting a bug in their ear. I know they hear from the coaches a lot, but coming from another player that wants the same goals as them — and that’s to win the game — is different.

“I’m always in Dante (Exum)’s ear. I’m always in Rodney’s ear, in Gordon’s ear. And they do the same when I’m in the game. During a timeout, (they’re saying), ‘C’mon, G, we need you to pick it up on defense or we need you to make some plays here, some plays there. Anytime you’ve got guys communicating like that and you see that everyone has the same interest and everyone has the same goals and it’s about team, not about individual stats and things like that, that’s when your team goes far.”

On the biggest challenge he’s ever overcome:

“Probably the biggest challenge for me as far as life-wise is making it out of my neighborhood (in Indianapolis). Not a lot of people do that. (Basketball?) I broke my foot in college. I didn’t know basketball was going to be the outcome for me after school. To really not give up, focus on the task at hand and continue to push forward, keep pounding that rock to be better every day (was important). That was my biggest challenge was not knowing if basketball was going to be my job after I’m done with school because I broke my foot. That was probably the toughest thing I had to face.”

On that situation helping him deal with this thumb injury, which has kept him out of five games after he earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors:

“Definitely so. It’s kind of like a blessing in disguise because you get to see the game from a different aspect. You sit there and see what your team needs, what things help motivate our team more, how can I get better from just looking at the game that can help us win games in situations like that?”

On his perspective about life since becoming a father and getting engaged in 2016:

“It made me slow down and kind of enjoy it (life) a little more. As a young man I really didn’t know how to prepare for that. Once my son came that kind of changed me. Things mattered a little bit more. I didn’t take days for granted. I didn’t take time for granted. Now I’m just seeing when I’m on the road for 8-9 days, you get back and your son looks a little different, a little taller, maybe crawling a little faster and is starting to stand up and walk. (Those) are the times that you kind of miss. That’s what it’s done for me. I take in every day and cherish the time I have.”

On his Instagram video in which he pleaded with some Jazz fans to stop trying to convince him (over and over again) to change his nickname:

“I’m just tired of that. A lot of people keep bugging me about changing it to ‘Utah George’. I tell them ‘Indiana George’ wasn’t just because I played for the Pacers. It’s always been something I’ve been using even in college (IUPUI). Just growing up in Indiana that’s what I was called there. I was a big fan of Indiana Jones and everyone used to call me ‘Indiana George’. I had that same name when I played for the Spurs. I have actually tattooed on my arm ‘Indiana George’. It will never change. I’m just asking people to stop asking me about it.”

On his transition to Salt Lake City after playing in Indiana and San Antonio for the first eight years of his NBA career:

“It’s been great. Utah’s welcomed me with open arms. My family loves it. I hope the city loves me. I just want to continue to embrace this great city and get out and make an impact.”

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