Josh was my best friend. Most people knew Josh because he was loud and obnoxious and funny, but few knew him for what he really was. Josh was all heart. He put 100% of himself into everything he did, from playing basketball to playing video games. Most importantly, he put all of himself into the people he loved. Despite how funny he was, how much he hustled on the court, or how entertaining he could be in class, his true person was defined by his relationships with his friends and family. I could stream adjectives describing Josh across this page, but none would do him justice. As his tattoo claimed, the world was his. He could do anything with the world he wanted and he would touch so many lives on his way, as he already has. Unfortunately, the good die young, and Josh was the best. I miss him terribly, but he will never be forgotten.
— Paul Vitelli, friend and teammate
Josh is a person you meet once in a lifetime. There aren’t enough words in our language to sum up the incredible human this man was. He was a great friend, teammate, brother, son and more importantly just a phenomenal person. Loyalty, morality, unselfishness, toughness, intelligence and kindness were the characteristics that defined our friend. He would do anything to make things easier on you, even if it were at his expense. Josh was the type of person who, no matter where you were or what kind of situation you were in, could bring a smile to your face and make life better. He will never be forgotten by anybody who was fortunate enough to meet him, and I hope that I can live my life in the same honorable and selfless way that Josh Hill lived his. We love you forever DOT.
— Alex Gamboa, friend and teammate
Josh was truly one of the most special young men I have ever had the pleasure of coaching. He played the game with little regard to his own well-being, but always had an eye on what was good for the team. He had a dynamic energy that helped captivate all around him; he was feared by his opponents but loved by his followers. Off the court he was even more special. He had the unbelievable ability to make all around him feel wonderful. Especially children — my eight-year old daughter misses him dearly and has even planted flowers in our backyard in his memory. I think of Josh daily for all that he was and for all that I knew he would become.
— James Jones, friend and coach
The greatest joy in a father’s life is to see your children happy. Besides losing a friend, the hardest part of Josh’s death was telling my four-year old daughter that he was no longer with us. Josh was Julia’s favorite for the simple fact that he, too, was a kid at heart. Josh would always put down everything he was doing when she walked into the room and make a point to play with her for a while. Whether it be throwing her in the air over and over again or simply giving her a ride around the room while she was attached to his leg, she always loved playing with Josh. Josh had the unique ability to make any child feel larger than life, and this included Julia. I’ll always remember Josh on his hands and knees as Julia walked him around the clinic attached to a rope, saying “Let’s go, doggy.” The funny part is that Josh actually seemed to enjoy it. I never got to thank Josh for the hundreds of smiles he gave my daughter. Not a day goes by that Julia doesn’t ask if Josh will be at Daddy’s work to play. While it’s hard to see the sadness in her eyes when time and time again I have to explain that Josh is in heaven, I’m eternally grateful for the memories she has of him. To Josh, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making one little girl feel so special. You will be missed, but never forgotten. Until we can all play again, Dave.
— Dave DiNapoli, friend and trainer
If you never knew Josh Hill, you could learn so much about him just by watching him play basketball. Josh played with more passion and emotion than anybody on the court. The other teams hated him because he would do whatever he had to do to help his team and his teammates, regardless of who he had to push out of the way. When he wasn’t on the court, or when he was injured, he was the loudest, most animated fan in any gym, not because he wanted to make a scene or draw attention, but because he cared that much about the success of his team and his friends. I knew Josh for the four years that we were at Yale together, and I always admired these qualities on the court. But when we began living together my junior year, I realized that the qualities Josh showed on the basketball court were present off the court as well. I’ve never in my life met a person with more loyalty and devotion to his friends, or a person who invested more of his energy in making the people around him happy. Not only did Josh always have a smile on his face, he wasn’t satisfied until everyone else around him had a smile on their faces too. We’ll always miss you, Dot.
— Barton Simmons, friend and roommate
Memorial Day, 2004. I spent it with my closest friends missing Josh, honoring him and wishing I had just one more day to tell him how much he meant to me. “I believe I can fly” was played in his honor, and people reflected on his life. Everyone had a different story, a different memory and a different way of telling how Josh impacted their life. To me, Josh was someone, who no matter who you were, you couldn’t help but be captivated by. He would walk into a room and everyone would notice him. It wasn’t his height or stature that would catch your attention, it was the compliment he gave you or the sarcastic remarks he would throw your way. No matter what, he had a unique ability to make anybody feel like they were the most important person in the world. There wasn’t a moment where he didn’t have time for you, which is why he impacted so many of us. Josh had so many hidden talents, and the world truly was his. I feel incredibly lucky to have been friends with him and blessed to have the memories we shared. I keep his memory close to my heart. I know that Josh is somewhere special right now, and I am convinced that he is just as loud, hilariously funny and happy as he was with all of us.
— Brynn Gingras, friend
Josh was a great teammate, a great friend, but most importantly a great person. He genuinely cared about people, even people he did not know. He was always willing to do anything, go anywhere and be there for you when you needed him. Josh accomplished more in his 22 years than most people do in a lifetime, which I believe is a testament to both his gregarious personality and his thirst for life. I feel lucky and honored to have been part of “his world.” I only wish that more people could have been.
— Matt Minoff, friend and teammate
Josh meant so much to so many people. But to his friends, he meant more than words can express. He was truly one of the most loyal, fun, genuine, outgoing, and free-spirited individuals I have ever met. He wore the tattoo “My World” on his arm and he truly lived it. He is the only person I know who lived a full life at 22 years of age. He could put a smile on everyone’s face, and the room really did light up when he entered. He was one of my best friends, and I miss him dearly, but I know he is watching over us all. His warmth and love for life are reminders to us all to live every day as our last … Josh did that. The world changed the day God took him from us, but I know he is in a better place. He left more memories for so many than could ever be written in a column.
— Erika Hockinson, friend
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