Although the Milwaukee Bucks aren't competing for an NBA championship right now like many anticipated earlier in the season, veteran guard George Hill says his latest accomplishment means just as much.
The NBA announced Monday that Hill was one of five recipients of the 2019-20 End of Season NBA Cares Community Assist Award, joining Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks).
"That's one of the awards that I've always wanted to win more than a 3-point contest, or a most improved or even sometimes a championship," Hill told reporters via Zoom. "You can win a championship, but the amount of fulfillment that I get knowing I've impacted a whole community is bigger than a championship for me. It's what I stand for. It's how I live. And I think that's how the world should try to see itself to impact other people's lives."
Hill called the recognition "humbling" because it honors NBA players for their commitment to positively impacting communities. Over the years, he has consistently given back to his community, notably with a charter school in his hometown of Indianapolis. He also sparked the Bucks' boycotting Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic to bring awareness to social justice issues.
"I'm still trying to do things in the community. We're still as a team have been getting on calls, trying to figure out how we can make change in the state of Wisconsin, the city of Milwaukee and things like that," Hill said. "We're talking to lieutenant governors and the legislation and things like that, so it's just a little bit hard getting call-backs and things like that due to the elections coming up and all those things, so people are really busy. But we're still trying to lay the groundwork for those things and to keep things moving."
Despite finishing with the best record in the regular season, Milwaukee failed to reach the Finals, losing in five games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Throughout the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble, Hill was open about feeling conflicted on playing while the world experienced so much racial inequality. Even with the NBA Finals still going on, Hill is more at peace being around loved ones.
"Very life changing. Very humbling at the same time, too. I think you kind of understand how much family and your fans and the arena and the workers and just the everyday grind and how much that was needed to the game," Hill recalled of his bubble experience. "Games felt like it was pickup games rather than basketball. I didn't know how much our fans played a part of our success and I feel like we thrived off of being in the arena. We thrived off our fans. We thrived off the opponents' fans and things like that.
"We never could get over that hump and never could play back to the status that we normally played before pre-COVID," he added. "But being away from it now, it's refreshing. I haven't really watched any of the games because I really don't care about any of the games other than that if we're not playing, but to be home with my family and friends, it's very fun for me. It's very humbling. Like I said, it's something that I've missed dearly so I'm doing well now."