Mike Hill is one of sports’ most noticeable infotainers. Since the 1990s, Mike has created a name for himself by informing and entertaining people in the world of sports through his journalism. He is now opening up and allowing the world to understand the man behind the personality. In his new book, Open Mike, he shares his many triumphs and disappointments. Mike is no longer afraid to dig deep in order to share his truth with the hope of encouraging someone to embrace theirs. Mike Hill is a devoted father of two young ladies and a man who has overcome a lot of loss and is not afraid to admit that he is a work in progress but every day he is striving to be a better man.
Mike’s journey into entertainment started the day he was discharged from the military and received a call 2 hours after with the offer of his first job in sportscasting. He always knew that his passion was in sports and that he wanted to inform sports lovers all around the world. This passion led him to spend time on platforms both local and national in Fresno, California, Nashville, Dallas, New York and more. As his career was on the rise, on 9/11, a day that many of us will never forget, became a turning point in his life. The network ran out of money and he lost his job in New York. After 6 months, he then moved to Dallas where he eventually lost his job. He admits that this was one of the worst yet most eye-opening experiences of his professional life. During those times everything in his life came into question and he slipped into a deep depression. “How could a man who rose to the top so fast lose everything just as fast?” “What will I do next?” “Is anyone ever going to hire me again?” “Is life even worth living?” These are things that he admits to thinking during the year and a half that he couldn’t find work. Even after extended unemployment and being saved from making a decision that would ruin the rest of his career, he heard a voice saying, “I have something better for you.” He kept working hard and soon after was offered a position at ESPN, eventually spending 9 years at the network. In 2013, Los Angeles became his new home and the beginning of what he feels has been the best years of his life both personally and professionally.
Dealing with the challenges of life, Mike eventually got to the place where he understood counseling was necessary if he wanted to be free and truly be happy. He understood that throughout his journey he was hurt, but there were people that he hurt as well. He shares a lot of this in his book and hopes that by opening up and being transparent that our community will seek counseling for the traumas that affect the lives they lead. He advises that we seek professional resources available and don’t try to fix ourselves. It doesn’t make you stronger to hold it in, it makes you weaker. Writing the book was cathartic for him. “If it wasn’t for this book, I don’t believe I would be where I am right now in my career or personally. I wouldn’t have been able to let go of my past and receive the blessings that I have,” says Mike.
“The things you do as a man doesn’t make you a man,” is a quote that comes from Mike. He understood that to be a man, there were plenty of things he needed to overcome, put aside and admit. Admitting that he hurt his daughters was one. Admitting that when in relationships, he didn’t treat people as well as he should have was another. Mike worked daily to become the better version of himself. He got the help he needed to become the best person and father he could be. Becoming a role model to not only his daughters but to every man of color who felt as if they couldn’t overcome who they thought they were. In 2014, he began writing the book that would take over 5 years to complete, as the story of his life was developing. He put the book to the side for a few years, but one day his life felt so heavy and he believed that if he didn’t write how he felt, he was going to die. “The more I wrote, the lighter I felt. I had to get everything off of my chest. I felt everything in my life had turned around and I could see things more clearly. I still have a long way to go. I have nothing to hide and I have no problem putting it out there and exposing myself,” said Mike. “We all have errors, we all have flaws, but it’s not until you are willing to accept them and learn from your mistakes that you can move forward.” During the process, he came to understand why things in his life were the way they were. He learned more about himself in terms of the way he was and why he did the things he did. He was able to pinpoint his challenges and eventually change the negatives into positives.
Realizing that he was ready for love, he went on Steve Harvey’s talk show dating segment where he met model, mogul and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey. The two began a long-distance romance that would eventually lead to Mike proposing. During their courtship, Mike opened up to Cynthia about his truths while sharing that he was writing a book about his life and experiences. Allowing her to see his truths on paper ultimately brought them closer together. Despite being apart of the social scene, they felt as if they didn’t have to put on facades with one another.
“I don’t have any shame. It’s my life and I can’t hide from it. This book shares the image of who I was. This is what I’ve gone through and this is what people in society go through. I want people to know if I can grow through it, you can certainly do it too,” he says.
Mike is currently working with the new Fox Soul streaming platform available online or via the app. The platform spotlights what’s impacting African-American and multi-ethnic communities, speaking on such things as colorism, Afrofuturism, relationships and so much more. The Mike and Donny Show is a 2-hour show co-hosted by Mike and Donny Harrell, which airs weekdays. His goal is to inspire his people to strive for that greatness that lives inside of them.
When asked what Mike wanted his legacy to be, he answered, “He was a good father, a great husband, and a great friend. He wanted to change the world. He wanted to impact society and bring everybody together. I lived to make people happy and make them smile. I did my best to do it the right way. When people think of me, I want them to smile.”
Mike Hill is a man who is the epitome of someone who uses his life to inspire others. His story of truth, transparency and transformation is one that everyone can learn from. Mike has partnered with his beautiful fiancée Cynthia Bailey to develop, host and produce a dating show to help other singles find love called The Hookup. It’s not your average dating show, as it infuses reality with a game show. You can also check out his new show The Mike and Donny Show on Fox Soul. His new book Open Mike will be out the first quarter of 2020.
Stay Connected with Mike via Instagram and check out more from our latest magazine issue below.