Even though I’m an official Duke-Hater, there’s a couple of Dukies that I have much respect for and one of them is Grant Hill. He was a upstanding player and a model professional on and off the court. The 40-year-old forward averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals during a career that included stints with Detroit, Orlando, Phoenix and Clippers.
Saturday evening during the TNT pregame show before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, Hill announced his retirement.
Hill appeared in just 29 games last season, his first with the Clippers.
Hill, a seven-time All-Star, was the 1995 Rookie of the Year, and a five-time All-NBA selection (one first-team).
Hill had hinted repeatedly since midseason that he was considering retirement, but his retirement still stands as a loss for the league. Hill is known as one of the best ambassadors of the game; injuries and health issues that kept Hill from fulfilling his legacy as potentially one of the best players of his generation.
“I’m certainly proud of what I’ve been able to do,” he said after the Clippers lost to Memphis last month.
Hill struggled with injuries, particularly his troublesome left ankle.
After leaving Detroit prior to the 2000-01 season, he spent seven seasons with the Orlando Magic in which he was limited to just 200 games due to injuries to the ankle. Before joining the Clippers, Hill spent five seasons with Phoenix. In 2010-11, he became the seventh player in NBA history to average 13 or more points at the age of 38 or older.
“Grant was an outstanding player and embodied the ideals of dedication and perseverance in overcoming injury and adversity during his distinguished NBA career,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “He was always the consummate teammate and professional. We wish Grant and his family our very best and, hope he will continue to contribute to the growth of the league and the sport for years to come.”
In 2000-01 while a Detroit Piston, he had season-ending surgery to repair a broken bone in his left ankle. He missed the entire 2003-04 season with the Magic while rehabbing his left ankle after having surgery on it the previous season. He missed 61 games because of a sports hernia during the 2006-06 season with Orlando. During the 2011-12 season with Phoenix, Hill had a medial meniscus tear in his right knee.
Hill was named to the All-NBA first team in 1997. He was a three-time winner of the league’s sportsmanship award.