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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Hill on fast track back to top of league

We’re about a month into the NBA season, and I’ve been hearing about the same players that everyone around me classifies as their “favorite”. There’s the obvious choices like Shaq, Kobe, A.I., Garnett, Duncan, and of course the hometown favorite, LeBron. What you and I will not hear much about is, in my opinion, the best story of the “Basketball New Year”.

Grant Hill arrived at Duke University in 1990. He was one of the catalysts of the Blue Devils two national championships in three Final Four appearances during his four-year tenure, in which he was selected as a unanimous First Team All-American his senior year as well as a Consensus Second Team All-American in 1992 and 1993.

His number 33 jersey was lifted to the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium after his final season, one of only eight that have been retired. He was selected third in the 1994 NBA Draft behind first pick Glenn Robinson and second pick Jason Kidd. He started off his career by being named NBA Co-Rookie of the Year along with Kidd, and being named to the 1994-95 NBA All- Rookie First Team as he averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and five assists a game.

Throughout his first six years in the league, all played with the Detroit Pistons, Hill consistently averaged upwards of 20 points per contest. Other accomplishments during those years include 29 career triple-doubles, two consecutive 40-point games (the first Piston to do so since 1983), and finishing third in the league in points per game (25.8) and 20th in the league in field goal percentage (.489) in 1999-2000, his last year in Detroit. He also led the league in All-Star voting in both ’95 (the only player ever to do so his rookie campaign), and ’96, as well as helping lead the United States to another gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

There were comparisons between him and Jordan by the time the trade to Orlando for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace (Maybe you’ve heard of him!) was finalized on August 3rd of 2000. That’s when everything went downhill for Grant Hill.

The 2000-01 season was Hill’s first in Florida. It didn’t last long. He played just four games, then ungracefully bowed out with the first major injury of his career. That injury continued to plague Hill as he would go on to play 14 and 29 games his second and third seasons in Orlando.

Hill sat out all of last season in hopes of somehow regaining his past form. So far it’s working as he is averaging 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 13 games thus far. If he can continue this pace and actually play the whole season, it will close the book on one of the most inspiring stories in NBA history.

Grant Hill was one of the best players in the game during his first six years in the NBA. His recent struggles with injuries have made his many fans, including me, feel sorry for not only him, but the future of the game had he not returned. When you think of Grant Hill, the first thing that comes to mind is talent. The next thing that should come to mind is class. There might not be a friendlier and classier guy in professional basketball then Grant Hill. He’s the kind of guy we need right now in this time of general lack of class (you all know who you are!).

It’s Grant Hill’s general friendliness and his personality that make this story as heartwarming and inspirational as it is. Grant Hill deserves as many chances as he needs to reclaim the glory of his early years. I don’t know about you, but there’s no one I’ll be watching more this NBA season than Grant Hill.

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