Few, if any, athletes have positioned themselves for life after their playing career like former Sun Grant Hill who officially announced his retirement over the weekend after 18 NBA seasons. They included seven trips to the All-Star Game and countless other awards both on and off the court. Among them an Olympic Gold Medal and two national championships at Duke.
Always polite, personable and well-spoken with teammates, fans and the media Hill’s options are wide open. In the immediate future he will take time to be with his wife Tamia and young daughters Myla and Lael.
Very few know Hill like his former coach, Alvin Gentry. The two were together in Detroit from 1998-2000 and later in Phoenix from 2009-12 when Hill revitalized his career after an injury-riddled six-year stay in Orlando with the Magic.
“I had the opportunity to coach him ten of the years he was in the league,” Gentry told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “He was a special guy. I have no doubt he’s a Hall of Fame guy.”
Gentry said Hill, who missed only three games in one three-year stretch with the Suns, urged him to not hold him out of games, even practices during the back half of his time in Phoenix.
“The thing that bothers me most is that if he didn’t suffer those injuries,” Gentry explained to Cesmat. “I think we would be talking [about] him in the same breath as LeBron [James] or Kobe [Bryant] or any of those guys.”
He believes Hill and the Suns training staff’s commitment to one another helped form a bond which essentially extended the 40-year old’s NBA lifespan.
Hill signed with the Los Angeles Clippers last summer where he played his final season. Over his career he averaged 16.7 points, six rebounds, and four assists.