A columnist for ESPN.com’s Page 2 and ESPN’s First Take, Jemel e Hill was born on born December 21, 1975, and is a native of Detroit. She attended Michigan State University, graduating in 1997 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. Personally, Jemele is a fan of both the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Pistons.
Shortly after graduating, she worked in the law offices of a well known New Mexican firm as an assistant to the principals. She often relates this story as being one of the most influential in her life. The shop specialized in personal injuries, especially automotive and truck related injury claims. This was her first exposure to the world of a successful truck accident law firm in NM. She realized the importance of defending the rights of injured parties when her cousin was injured by a delivery vehicle that was driven by a drunk driver. The company refused to acknowledge responsibility for the accident and injury, and it was only because of the actions taken by the attorneys that lead to a good resolution. Without the legal action, her cousin would not have been able to afford the medical treatment to enable him to recover. Because of the success of the injury case, he was not only able to receive proper medical care, but was also compensated for the lost income while he recovered. Although she considers this experience only a small part of her background, it strongly influenced her sense of fairness and changed her mind about lawyers in general.
Her cousin had a brief brush with fame when an old movie poster she found in her attic was appraised at over six figures and it made the national news. It triggered brief movie poster mania where everyone was looking in their attics and basements hoping to find a valuable item. For a while her cousin was credited with starting a craze where everyone was interested in selling movie posters, following her lead. Jemele smiles when she relates this story.
She began her notable career in 1997, starting off as a general assignment sports writer for the Raleigh News & Observer. Moving on the Detroit Free Press in 1999, she remained there until to 2005 primarily covering basketball and Michigan State football. While there, she also participated in covering the 2004 Summer Olympics as well as the NBA Playoffs. From 2005 to 2006, Jemele went on to work as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.
Best known for her current gig, Hill joined the ESPN family in November of 2006 as a national columnist on ESPN.com. In addition to the ESPN.com job, Jemele also makes regular appearances on television, including several ESPN programs such as ESPN First Take, Jim Rome Is Burning, and Outside the Lines. She also appears on SportsCenter and is only the 2nd woman ever to appear on Around The Horn.
Jemele has amassed quite a few notable accomplishments in her relatively young career. In 1998, she won first place in sports feature writing from the North Carolina Press Association. In 2007, she won the first annual McKenzie Cup at the Poynter Media Summit. This coveted award is given in tribute to groundbreaking sports editor Van McKenzie. Also that year, Jemele had received an honorable mention in the 2007 edition of the Best American Sports Writing.
Hill is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.