By the time Shakyla Hill completed her legendary basketball career at Grambling State University, she instantly solidified her spot as one of the greatest athletes ever to don a GSU uniform.
In addition to recording two quadruple-doubles while at GSU, Hill’s collegiate resume includes four triple-doubles, 35 double-doubles, one SWAC Player of the Year Award, one SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Award, and countless other national awards and record-setting milestones.
As she enters the second year of her professional basketball career with ZKK Kraljevo in Serbia — having already recorded a quadruple-double in the first year of her professional career with the team – Hill undoubtedly is a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court.
But in an exclusive Q&A with HBCU Sports, Hill reveals – when off the court, discussing HBCUs or even sexism – she’s not one to be messed with either.
It’s been reported that you didn’t receive many scholarship offers to play basketball from colleges coming out of high school. Based on the available options, why did you decide to attend Grambling State?
I chose Grambling because they were on me consistently, and I also knew I wanted to go to an HBCU. After taking my visit there, I knew it was a place I could call home. I actually had interest from Southern, but their coaching staff at the time just didn’t have the right feel for me. They weren’t as professional. I love all-black schools and people, and you should never have to bash another to get one up.
After you recorded your first quadruple-double against Alabama State in January 2018, you indicated that you were trolled with a lot of sexist comments by individuals who didn’t appreciate your on-court accomplishment at that time. Was that particular incident the reason why you are so outspoken currently on the subject of sexism in the sports world?
Yes, and no. I feel like I’ve always been outspoken about the inequalities we as women face. I’ve always wanted us to have a voice and be treated the same, yet when I experienced that from all the internet trolls, it made me go so much harder and be so much louder.
As if it wasn’t enough for you to record a quadruple-double in 2018, you managed to make national headlines once again by registering a second quadruple-double against UAPB a year later. Despite your historic accomplishments and overall success at Grambling, you never got a call from any team in the WNBA. How did that make you feel?
Not getting a call actually drove me to quit. I felt as if I gave so much to the game, doing things that had never been done, and to still not get acknowledged was like a slap in the face. So, I quit.
Let’s fast forward to your very first professional game with ZKK Kraljevo in Serbia. Talk about some of the adjustments you had to make to playing in a foreign country so far away from home?
I had to adjust to just the overall look and feel of the country. America is so high tech and beautiful in many different aspects and here was just different. Also, I had to adjust to it being no black people (lol). Coming from an HBCU where that’s all that it is to here was a crazy culture shock.
Shakyla, you ‘messed around’ and eventually recorded your third-career quadruple-double (the first of your professional career). It was the first time anyone in ZLS League 1 history secured a quadruple-double. Was it as big a deal in Serbia as it was here in the U.S. at the time it happened?
Yes. My teammates actually made it a bigger deal than me. I felt it wasn’t the same because I wasn’t around my family and friends, but you know they made me feel great. The whole country knew. I was all over social media from people here. It was great (lol).
In addition to using your platform to discuss sexism in sports, you also use it to advocate for Grambling State and HBCUs in general. Why is this so important to you?
It’s so important to me because I feel like athletes, and even just students period get overlooked for attending HBCUs. Constantly we’re producing athletes that have to go 1000 times harder just because of the school they chose, and I don’t think that’s fair.
Not long after graduating from GSU, you created a scholarship for Grambling State students. What led you to do this?
I’ve seen in my days a lot of students not be able to pay their fees, or just afford basic necessities in college. So, I felt that it was my job to step up and help at least for one student. Especially at a time like this where everything is uncertain, parents might not be working. It was the least I could do. God has blessed me so much, so it’s only right I use the blessings I have to bless others.
You’ve agreed to a new second-year deal with ZKK Kraijevo. Talk a little about your expectations for the upcoming season with your team and any personal goals you might have.
My first goal is to win. I’ve always been a winner, and I have the mentality that I always want to win. So that’s my team goal. My own personal goals start with improving my own game and then getting into training camp next year.
We know about Shakyla Hill, the athlete, Shakyla Hill, the activist, and Shakya Hill, the philanthropist. What are some other things you can tell us about Shakyla Hill that we don’t know?
I just want to be known as a good person. A person who never forgot where she came from, a person who pushed down barriers consistently, and just a good overall person. People get platforms or accomplish things and become different people. I never want that for myself. I just want people to always know me as a great, approachable person, who will help anybody and speak up for any injustice I see.