Indiana Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert was born on December 11, 1986 in Queens, New York City to Roy Sr. and Patty Hibbert. Roy Sr. is originally from Jamaica and his mother from Trinidad. At the age of two, the family moved to Adelphi, Maryland.
A self-described self-sufficient only child, Roy was exposed to a variety of activities such as video games, piano lessons, and tennis. While Roy’s parents believed tennis would be his preferred sport, Roy grew several inches every year during his adolescence, forever changing his fate.
Inspired by the play of his role model Shaquille O’Neal, along with growing to be 7’2″ as a teenager, Roy’s attention soon turned from the tennis court to the basketball court.
Hibbert attended Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Maryland, where he was coached by Dwayne Bryant, who played point guard for Georgetown University. With Roy at the center position, Georgetown Prep’s Little Hoyas were the co-champions of the Interstate Athletic Conference in 2004.
Playing under coach John Thompson Jr., Roy Hibbert played in 32 games his freshman season, 17 as a starter, averaging 5.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg. While not playing the minutes he had hoped, Roy took the advice of his coach to keep faith and continue to work hard.
“It was just a matter of working hard, and that’s what I enjoyed, working hard. I didn’t want to have the 9 to 5,” recalls Roy. “So, I knew that by putting in the time, it would eventually work out. The hardest part was not playing my freshman year.”
During his sophomore year, Hibbert opened the season with back-to-back games of 20+ points, scoring 20 in the season opener at Navy and 23 points in a win at James Madison. Those two performances garnered him a selection as Big East Player of the Week. For all his hard work, Hibbert was named second team All-Big East, averaging 11.6 ppg and leading the Hoyas with 6.9 rpg and 1.64 blocks per game.
For the 2007 season, Roy was a unanimous selection to the All-Big East First Team. Leading the team in rebounding and blocks, while shooting a career-best 67.1 percent from the field, the center led the Hoyas to victory in the Big East Conference Championship for the first time since 1989. In the NCAA Tournament, the Hoyas marched to the Final Four as Hibbert scored 13 points with 11 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double in the Hoyas’ win in the East Regional Final versus North Carolina.
After a strong junior year, Roy went against the conventional choice of declaring for the NBA Draft as a possible lottery selection, and returned to Georgetown for his senior season. Selected as a Second Team Associated Press All-American and a First Team All-Big East selection, Roy led the Georgetown Hoyas in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots with averages of 13.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.2 bpg.
Roy’s most memorable memories from college include the unranked Hoyas upsetting #1 Duke at Georgetown in the 05-06 season and having his parents attend every home game.
The Indiana Pacers acquired Roy Hibbert in July 2008 from the Toronto Raptors, along with TJ. Ford, Maceo Baston and Rasho Nesterovic, in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal and the draft rights to Nathan Jawai. Pacers’ general manager and NBA legend Larry Bird made the trade.
“It meant a lot that Larry Bird took a chance on me,” recalls Roy of the NBA draft process. “There were other good players the Pacers could have picked, but Bird picked me, so I owe him a lot.”
During his rookie year, Hibbert played in 70 games and averaged 7.1 ppg with 3.5 rpg.
In the 2009-10 season, Hibbert capped the season with the best offensive game of his NBA career, leading the Pacers with a career-high 29 points at Washington. The Georgetown product was one of the top field goal shooters in the NBA with a mark of 49.5 percent. He led the Pacers with 177 offensive rebounds.
Hibbert was the Pacers’ top rebounder and shot-blocker with career-best averages of 7.5 rpg and 1.75 bpg. When Frank Vogel took over as head coach, Hibbert averaged 13.2 ppg and 7.3 rpg in the team’s last 38 games.
Named an NBA All-Star for the first time, Hibbert was the Pacers’ leading rebounder, shot blocker and field goal shooter with averages of 8.8 rpg, 1.97 bpg and 49.7 percent from the floor, to go along with 12.8 points per game. In the playoffs, Hibbert had seven double-doubles and started in all 19 of Indiana’s playoff games, averaging 17.0 ppg and 9.9 rpg while shooting 120-235 (.511). He scored double-digit points 15 times and collected double digit rebounds in nine games, including postseason career highs in points (29) in a 97-93 win at Miami. Hibbert had seven games in which he scored 20+ points. The series against Miami was his best career postseason performance, as he averaged 22.1 ppg and 10.4 rpg in the seven game series.
As one of the top defensive centers in the NBA, Hibbert was named to the NBA All-Star Game for the second time in his career. With the All-Star as the defensive anchor, the Indiana Pacers are favored by fans and journalists to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
On July 9, 2015, Hibbert was signed to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Roy Hibbert is known for being personable, entertaining, and outgoing, from letting teammates pour water on his head during a live interview; to photobombing the NBA Countdown Crew on TV; to posting photos of his remarkably large bed on social media.
“I’m a down to earth person, and I try to never act like I’m too good. On the court, I’m serious, but if you know me, you’ll see how I am on Instagram and Twitter is how I am in real life,” says Roy. “I always felt that I’m the same person I was back when I was sitting in a dorm room in high school with my friends.”
Roy is also a famously avid consumer of video games and television, with an iTunes TV downloading habit that would scare even the most inveterate TV addict.
Hibbert’s passion for video games started as a child, as he spent countless hours playing Nintendo NES, Sega Genesis, PlayStation and Gameboy. It may be surprising to hear about an All-NBA performer, but in high school, Hibbert was at his most dominant on PlayStation.
“I could dunk from the free throw line, hit 3s, run the point, everything in NCAA March Madness.”
Even today, Roy keeps his hand-eye coordination sharp by playing at least 10-15 minutes of his favorite game, Call of Duty, before every Pacers’ game.
Influenced by his mother’s Star Trek fandom, the center is a huge fan of sci-fi with Battlestar Galactica being his favorite show.
“As a kid, my mom said in Trinidad that they didn’t get that many TV channels from the states, but one show they always got from the states was Star Trek,” remembers Roy. “When, I was younger, my mom used to watch Star Trek all the time, so that was one thing I take away from my childhood. That’s probably the genre I gravitate to the most.”
But, still a fan of comedy, in 2011, Roy lobbied hard for a guest role on one of his favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation. Set in a fictional town in Indiana, the show was a perfect fit for the Pacers star. Roy appeared as himself, employed by Aziz Ansari’s character Tom Haverford to play one-on-one basketball with Detlef Schrempf for 75% of his NBA salary during the 2011 lockout. He made a second appearance in a 2012 episode, in which Tom Haverford hired him at his company’s farewell party to distribute shrimp, and again made a cameo in 2013, buying steak for all the characters, except Tom, who “owes me a lot of money.”
While video games and TV shows are an integral part of Roy’s identity, the most important figures in Roy’s life are his parents, who have been his biggest and most positive influence.
“My parents worked a couple of jobs when I was growing up. They taught me how to work hard and nothing comes easy,” recalls Roy.
Even with all Roy has accomplished on the basketball court, the times spent with his parents are his fondest memories.
“We’re a close-knit bunch. They still give me advice to this day,” said Roy. “My father always tells me ‘play strong, play together’ and my mother does the same.”
Roy is currently engaged to his college girlfriend Valerie Cooke.
When his NBA career is over, Roy wants fans to remember him as a hard working player and great center.
“You always get defined by how many championships you win, so I hope to have at least one, and hopefully more, but you got to have one if you want to be remembered as great.”