Grant Hill was born on October 5, 1972, in Dallas, Texas. His father, Calvin, played football at Yale University
and was an All-Pro player for the Dallas Cowboys. His mother, Janet, a successful attorney and consultant, attended Wellesley College where she shared a suite of rooms with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The family moved to Washington, D.C. when Hill's father was traded to the Redskins, and Hill grew up in Reston, Virginia, an upper-middle-class suburb. An only child, Hill grew up amidst fame, wealth, and privilege. A Porsche and a Mercedes were parked in the driveway, and well-known entertainers, athletes, and politicians were frequent house guests.
Hill was never comfortable with his privileged position in life. "I've always just wanted to blend in and be like everybody else," he told Sporting News. "I didn't want anybody, especially my friends, thinking I was better than them. I just wanted to be a down-to-earth guy and have my own identity." So Hill seldom mentioned that he was Calvin Hill's son and preferred to be picked up from school in the family's third car, an old Volkswagen. When Hill's father came to his school to talk to the student body, Hill, an eighth-grader at the time, feigned illness and retreated to the nurse's office rather than endure the extra attention. At home, Hill was under strict rules set out by his parents, including no phone calls until the weekend, and then only one a day.
Naturally inclined to sports, Hill played soccer and basketball. His father refused to allow him to play football until high school, but by then, Hill was dedicated to basketball. At the age of thirteen his summer league team upset a Detroit team, whose players included future NBA players Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. As a freshman at South Lakes High School in Reston, Hill was asked to skip junior varsity and join the varsity team. Hill balked; he didn't want to leave his friends behind, but his father insisted and Hill reluctantly consented. During his high school years Hill lived for basketball. When he wasn't playing, he would spend hours reviewing tapes of NBA and college games. As a senior he averaged thirty points per game. His father hoped Hill would go to the University of North Carolina, and his mother was counting on nearby Georgetown University. Hill decided on Duke University.