Grant Hill 'at peace' with not getting enough credit for his career

Grant Hill 'at peace' with not getting enough credit for his career

The following article first appeared on

Grant Hill accomplished a lot throughout 18-year career, earning awards and racking up accolades that put him in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Despite that decorated career, many have viewed him as one of the "what if" players in NBA history because of the immense potential he couldn't maximize due to several reasons. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Hill revealed his thoughts on how everything turned out.

Grant Hill on not getting jersey retirement tribute

Based on his resume alone — 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, back-to-back NCAA champion with Duke from 1991-92 — Hill deserves to be associated with the elites in basketball. He was able to translate his successful college career to the pros. In the NBA, he made the All-Star games seven times and earned All-NBA Team selection five times. 

However, something lacking in Hill's trophy case is championship hardware. Winning titles, a common factor often cited by purists in categorizing great players into different tiers, also lacked in the resumes of Reggie Miller, Chris Webber and Karl Malone; they are all in the Hall of Fame with Hill. However, Miller, Webber and Malone all got their jerseys retired by the teams they starred for (the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Utah Jazz, respectively).

Hill, on the other hand, has not had that happen, despite making an impact in almost every team he played for. In an interview with Yahoo, he said that he doesn’t think much of it.

“If it doesn’t happen, it still means a lot and it doesn’t change how I feel, the years that I had, and the experiences and relationships throughout the years," Hill said.

That speaks volumes about Hill’s humility in not expecting tributes given by teams, even if he deserves it.

Which team should retire Grant Hill's jersey?

Hill played for the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers; with the exception of L.A. he suited up for at least five years with each team. The talented small forward had the most impact in Detroit, where he made the All-Star game five times. He also averaged 21.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in his six seasons with the Pistons — all career-highs. These numbers prompted experts to say that Hill was the basically the NBA’s LeBron James before LeBron James. He possessed a unique skill set that was rare for his size during his time. Hill even believed he was greater than Michael Jordan at his peak, and he had every reason to feel that way. 

As a member of the Magic, Hill averaged 16.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.1 assists; his lone All-Star appearance with Orlando came in his first season with the team in 2000-01. Hill's numbers further dipped while in Phoenix, as he averaged 12.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Injuries derailed his career, and he never made it to the top tier of NBA greats. However, Hill has accepted things as they are. 

“I’m at peace with what happened, the ups and the downs," Hill said. "Honestly, I probably wouldn’t change it. I didn’t necessarily get to where I thought I could go. I’m proud of that point of my career, but I’m also proud of what I went through and how I was able to come out on the other end.”

The devastating injuries he suffered could have ended his career sooner, but Hill persevered and played the cards he was dealt with. Hill was a consummate professional, never got involved in off-court drama and never got in trouble with his coaches and teammates. 

Among the teams he played for, it was the Pistons that could have retired his jersey; aybe it will still happen in the future. Either way, Hill can still be proud of his achievements and making the Hall of Fame. Thousands of other players could only dream of having his career. Not having his jersey retired won’t diminish Hill’s impact during his tenure in the NBA.

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