Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grant Hill: Nuclear Bombs and Horseshoes


ESPN LOS ANGELES, June 1, 2013 -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill announced his retirement Saturday after a 19-year career in NBA.

"I'm glad to say I'm done," Hill said. "I'm officially retired, moving on from playing. I had a great run. I'm announcing it now.... I've been hinting at it the last few years. You get to a point where you just don't want to do it anymore but I've enjoyed it."
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SLAM magazine, April 2004: The only thing he has in common with MJ now is that neither is playing... Don't blame Hill...
 
In an era when few can meet--much less exceed--expectations, Grant Hill was on his way. He would've made it, too, if not for that broken ankle and those dreaded complications.
 
When Grant Hill left Duke, the Blue Devil fans thought they would finally be able to shut the Tarheels up. A common insult, which Dukies couldn't respond to, was Your school doesn't put any real ballers in the NBA.
 
North Carolina had Michael Jordan, and that was just for starters. Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace... the list is so long, reading it would be a good sleeping pill.
 
And Duke? Well Mike Gminski was pretty good with the Sixers. Christian Laettner was a serviceable pro who made the 1992 Olympic Dream Team based on his collegiate legacy. 

Johnny Dawkins, Bobby Hurley, and Jay Williams all fell short because of various ailments. Solid Blue Devil pros like Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving, Carlos Boozer, and Shane Battier were a few years away.

Grant Hill was supposed to be Durham's answer to Chapel Hill's Mike. We saw glimpses. The wraparound passes. The fadeaways. The silky hesitation dribbles and crossovers.

Like Jordan, the young and rising Hill seemed to give us at least one ridiculous manuever per night. Basketball fans were putting him in the all-time class even before he won NBA Rookie of the Year.

But all of the injuries killed the noise. Like Hurley, Williams, and others, Hill is a classic case of "what could have been."



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