"Something All Our Own", The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art.

Tamia is a chart-topping R&B artist with four Grammy nominations.

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Feature News

The HillTop

With the 2015 Final Four, former Duke star Grant Hill comes full circle … and then some

April 7th, 2015

By Chuck Culpepper, April 6
Original article on The Washington Post

Grant Hill (center) talks with fellow TV analysts Bill Raftery (left) and Jim Nantz (right) during the NCAA Men’s Final Four. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS — At 11, he went clear from Reston to Seattle with his father for the 1984 Final Four, where his mother’s absence meant the rules did slacken. The males did not specialize in hotel-room tidiness. They ate and slept when they wished, visited all the team hotels, saw a museum per his father’s cultural mandate and reveled in Georgetown’s national title.

At 18, he saw the 1991 Final Four from the actual victory podium, while his father stood there on the edge of the court, a former NFL star beholding a grown-up son with a fresh disbelief. “I can remember walking out of the Hoosier Dome and looking to the sky and saying, ‘I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this, but thank you, Lord,’” Calvin Hill said.

At 42, he — the son, Grant Hill — comes back to the 2015 Final Four as what he calls “a steward of this game.” With his 19-year NBA career in the books, Turner Sports and CBS Sports asked him to join a three-man broadcast team courtside, leaving him temporarily intimidated. “A lot of times in life, you get a promotion, and you just don’t think you’re ready, and you just do it,” he said.

They don’t use Grant Hill’s face as a perpetual Final Four logo, but they could do worse. As he claims to spot magic in the event, still, his face makes it seem as if little brackets roam his vessels. It would be hard to find anybody who has seen the Final Four from more — and more rarefied — angles. He has seen it as an 11-year-old lad let into the coaches’ party through his father’s pull, a 15-year-old who oughtn’t (and didn’t) go to the coaches’ party because the coaches had started recruiting him out of South Lakes High School, and a 42-year-old who says, “Hopefully now, I can get into the CBS party without sneaking in.”

In reporting that he has sustained his childlike view, he said, “Maybe part of it is I’m sentimental.”

He has gone to a Final Four as a kid who went ga-ga at spotting Missouri Coach Norm Stewart and North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano. He has gone to a Final Four where he walked the concourse at Rupp Arena in Lexington in 1985, gawked at stars such as Walter Berry of St. John’s, tutored his father on what to watch — “He was watching the game at a more sophisticated level than I was,” Calvin said — and cried when Georgetown lost famously to Villanova. He has gone to a Final Four as a Duke freshman about to play mighty, unbeaten Nevada-Las Vegas in 1991, and he has felt nervous until UNLV won the opening jump, and he stole the ball, and he went in for a layup, and that quelled his nerves.

Hill (33) has seen the Final Four from a number of angles. (Ed Reinke/AP Photo)

He has gone to the Final Four as a Duke sophomore on a 1992 team exhausted from its season-long favorite role — it still won — and as the Hercules on a 1994 team that finished runner-up to Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas. And now Hill reaches the Final Four for yet another closing Monday night, on the sport’s biggest broadcast, for the Wisconsin-Duke final. Said analyst partner Bill Raftery, “I told him it’s become the longest walk, walking out of a place with him, ’cause I’ve got to wait every five feet for him to sign an autograph or take a picture.”

And: “He’s got a lot of juice for it.”

But for the genesis, he came to the Final Four as do most. “You know, it’s funny, I was a fan,” he said of those 1980s. “Like, I hated St. John’s. I hated Syracuse. Those were the rivals (of Georgetown). So I understand the passion that you have. Now, I’ve learned to appreciate and kind of love Lou Carnesecca and (Chris) Mullin and what they did (for St. John’s), but at the time as a kid it was like, ‘Ugh!’ So yeah, I lived it. I didn’t quite paint my face, but I was a diehard fan.”

Michael Jackson, the Georgetown point guard from 1981 to 1984, had grown up down the street. Janet Hill, Grant’s mother, had snared some season tickets. Michael Jordan, the North Carolina wonder, had hit the shot to beat Georgetown in 1982, and the new Hill family Betamax made its first recording with that. From there to 1990, Grant watched that tape “maybe 500 times,” he said.

Soon enough, Calvin Hill hatched the idea of father-son trips and asked Grant to choose a destination, and when led to five years of Final Fours, it also led to a parent’s wish. “The father in me wished I could buy this experience for him, and he could play on one of these teams,” Calvin said.

Then — good grief — he did. As he returns again, so does Calvin, and for a spokesman, the NCAA tournament could do worse than a former running back in Dallas, Cleveland and Washington: “It captivates the country. It involves the country. It involves the country in a different way than a World Series or the Super Bowl. It involves every part of the country. If you’re in the ACC, you’ve got somebody, or if you’re in the Ivy League. As difficult as it is for me, having gone to Yale, I’m rooting for Harvard. Of course, I’m also rooting for Duke all the time. But everybody has skin in the game. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful three weeks of unmitigated joy.”

This time, with Indianapolis again and Grant again, it got Calvin thinking about “how circular everything is.” He said, “It’s sort of surreal to me to see him in that (TV) role.” He also said, “I just think he has an understanding that the game, it’s a beautiful game, like the Brazilians talk about soccer.”

He also said, “Jeez, we’ve come more than 360 degrees.”

Sunday Q&A: Former Duke star Grant Hill

March 16th, 2015

Grant Hill will be on the Final Four announcing team with veterans Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery.
Photo: Ross D. Franklin • Associated Press

Original article on StarTribune

Former Duke and NBA great Grant Hill is working as a television analyst for CBS and Turner Sports during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Leading up to March Madness, Hill took time to chat with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand about this year’s tournament and memories of past years.

Q Will Kentucky finish off this undefeated perfect season?

A Wow, well I’m paid to know these things, but I don’t know. You have to think they’re the team to beat. Their depth, their defense and their willingness to sacrifice, I think they’re a remarkable story. I will say that I have seen some slippage in their play. I don’t know if they’re as sharp as they were earlier in the year.

Q Who else has a realistic chance of winning the tournament?

A It’s very rare to see all the potential top seeds in the Final Four … but I do think there is a significant amount of separation between the top four or five teams and the rest of the country. I think Wisconsin, they have everybody back and the guy inside (Frank Kaminsky) is even better than he was last year. Duke is a team that’s certainly capable. But I fill out brackets every year like everyone else. And very rarely do I win. That’s the beauty of it. In the NBA, typically in a seven-game series, the best team wins. But here, the better team doesn’t always advance. That’s what makes it exciting.

Q What’s your assessment of former Apple Valley star Tyus Jones and his freshman year at Duke?

A I’ve been very impressed with Tyus. I had a chance to work out with him in August, but to watch him throughout the season and to see how poised and composed he is as a point guard throughout the game, and how clutch he is in those moments — he’s been great. He really is their closer. … At times he needs to be more aggressive, but that’s nitpicking. I’ve been very impressed. As a Duke fan, he’s been a pleasure to follow and watch.

Q We’re 23 years removed from that 1992 Final Four at the Metrodome, where your Duke team won a national title. What do you remember specifically from that time?

A It was the end of a two-year journey. We knew going in that the team and core of guys we had beginning with the year before was going to come to an end. The mind-set was to finish everything off and make sure we take care of business. As a team, collectively, our mind-set might have been different than the year before. … We were more comfortable, more confident. We were the hunted instead of the hunter. … We still went out and had a memorable Final Four, but it was more a sense of relief when we won and it was over.

Q The most memorable moment of that 1992 season, of course, was Christian Laettner’s shot after your long pass, to beat Kentucky in the region final. There’s a documentary debuting Sunday on ESPN called “I Hate Christian Laettner.” Why has he been such a polarizing figure?

A For the record, I love Christian Laettner. He was one of my favorite teammates. And outside of Michael Jordan, who I played with a few times in All-Star Games, when he was at Duke he was the best player I ever played with. He was unbelievable in college.

Basketball Great Grant Hill Honored With ‘Candle In The Dark’ Award

March 2nd, 2015

February 22, 2015
Original article

Grant receives Candle in the Dark Award

2015 A Candle In The Dark Gala took place at The Hyatt Regency Atlanta on February 21, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Master and mistress of ceremonies was actress Melinda Williams and actor Darrin Henson during the black tie gala. “A Candle in the Dark” Gala honorees were presented with either a Candle or Bennie award. Candle Award recipients are honored for excellence in a variety of fields, including athletics, business, education, entertainment, government, law, military service, religion and science and technology. Grant Hill received the Candle Award in the area of Sports & Entertainment. His wife Tamia was in attendance as well to cheer him on!

Grant and Tamia

Turner Sports & CBS Sports Name Bill Raftery & Grant Hill Game Analysts for 2015 NCAA® Final Four & National Championship

February 3rd, 2015

Hill & Raftery Team with Jim Nantz for 2015 NCAA Tournament

Turner Sports and CBS Sports today announced that Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will call the NCAA Final Four and National Championship this year. Hill and Raftery will join the team of Jim Nantz and reporter Tracy Wolfson to call games together throughout the 2015 NCAA Tournament, culminating with the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four and National Championship from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

This year’s NCAA Tournament marks the first time Raftery and Hill will call the Final Four and National Championship on television. The full NCAA Tournament commentator lineup will be announced at a later date.

Raftery is entering his 33rd year calling the NCAA Tournament. Hill will debut this year as a game analyst after joining the collective NCAA Tournament coverage last year as a studio analyst.

Nantz, Raftery, Hill and Wolfson will team for the first time to call the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 14, and championship game on Sunday, March 15, on CBS.

For the fifth consecutive year, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will provide live coverage of all 67 games from the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. The Final Four on Saturday, April 4, will be televised on TBS and the National Championship on Monday, April 6 will air on CBS.

Hill, a two-time NCAA basketball champion at Duke University and member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, joined Turner Sports in 2013 following a 19-year NBA career. He currently serves as a game and studio analyst for Turner Sports, as well as host of NBA TV’s weekly NBA Inside Stuff show.

Raftery joined CBS Sports in 1983. He has been a key member of the Network’s college basketball team, serving as a regular season and NCAA Tournament game analyst for 33 years. Raftery has been a game analyst for radio coverage of the NCAA Final Four for the last 23 years. He has been elected as a 2015 inductee for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

For former Duke star Grant Hill, induction into college basketball hall is a family affair

November 24th, 2014


The newly inducted 2014 class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Ceremonies were held Sunday night at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. RICH SUGG / THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Grant Hill grew up loving basketball, and he admits he can thank his football-playing father, Calvin, for that.

During Grant’s teenage years, he and Calvin — a running back for the Dallas Cowboys — went on annual trips to the Final Four. It was quality time for father and son, a chance for them to share in the majesty of college basketball together.

On Saturday, before his induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday night in Kansas City, Grant allowed himself to reminisce about those times, and how sweet it was to have his entire family, particularly his father, witness the ceremony.

“He helped introduce me to the game, to college basketball,” Hill, 42, said of his father. “To have a chance to play in the Final Four and have it come full circle, now, to sort of celebrate what I was able to do and have my dad here, I know he’s just as excited and proud as I am.”

Grant Hill, who starred for Duke from 1990 to 1994 and won two national championships, could not have been more correct. While he spoke to reporters in a pre-induction news conference, Calvin Hill stood a few feet away, beaming alongside the rest of the family — Grant’s mother, Janet, Grant’s wife, Tamia, and their daughters, Myla and Lael.

Duke was well-represented at the induction ceremony as well, in spirit. In a video tribute to Hill, Blue Devils past and present praised the 1994 consensus All-America, and coach Mike Krzyzewski issued the highest compliment, calling Hill, “the most talented player I’ve coached at Duke.”

Calvin Hill also allowed for some reflection. Time goes fast, and they’ve certainly come a long way.

Calvin remembers walking around at the 1985 Final Four at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., allowing himself to think about how cool it would be if his son could one day play in a Final Four.

“His eyes are big, and mine are, too, looking at the festival that is the Final Four,” Calvin Hill said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is unbelievable. As a father, wouldn’t it be great if he could just be a part of something like this?’”

So, when the dream came true during the 1991 Final Four — Grant Hill’s freshman year at Duke — Calvin Hill was grateful.

“As a father, as a parent, anything you’ve done pales in comparison to anything your kids do because you want the best for them and you worry,” he said. “I remember walking outside in Indianapolis that year and looking up in the sky, and just saying ‘God, I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but thank you.’

“It’s been a blessing to follow him.”

Janet Hill acknowledged that when her husband took Grant on those trips to the Final Four, he never did it with the thought his son would one day become a college star.

“He took him, really, for some alone time with him,” Janet said with a laugh.

But those trips did shape Grant Hill, and for that, he is grateful to his father. He also is grateful for his 18-year NBA career, which was marred in his prime by significant ankle injuries. Still, Grant Hill has made peace with this.

“I had the injuries, and things got derailed,” he said. “But I know I had to really fight to resume my career. I’m more proud of what I was able to do after the injury than before. I knew it took a lot of fight and grit to come back and play after nine years.”

One thing retirement has given him plenty of time for is reflection.

“Having just retired, having a chance to reflect on your career, it’s something I really value,” he said. “I understand how lucky I was.”

That’s why the ceremony Sunday night meant so much to him and his family.

“It is an honor to be honored,” Tamia Hill of her husband. “He’s not a guy who mentions getting honored a lot, but he made sure we were all here, and it means a lot to him. It does.”

Grant Hill is certainly not alone there. Calvin Hill said he was “afraid to pinch” himself following the ceremony, and Grant Hill couldn’t have been happier that his father was in attendance.

“The journey started a long time ago,” Grant Hill said. “And for him to still be here is great.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com.

Grant Hill’s full court press: He wants to own an NBA team

September 30th, 2014

By Jessica Golden, Field Producer

After back-to-back college championships at Duke and a nearly 20-year professional career, seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill said his next dream is owning his own NBA team.

Rebounding from a $1.2 billion failed bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, Hill is going back to the drawing board and looking for the next opportunity to become an owner.

“We made a strong attempt for the Clippers that we thought was pretty aggressive but in the end we came up short,” Hill said on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report.”

More than six bidders, including Hill and his partners Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh, bid on the Clippers in August after the Sterling Family Trust put the team up for sale following racist remarks by longtime team owner Donald Sterling. Ultimately, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was the highest bidder, purchasing the team for a record $2 billion.

“It would be more disappointing if it was a closer winning bid but you can’t argue with that [$2 billion],” Hill said. “For that team and franchise, I think someone like Ballmer, with his passion, energy and deep pockets, is what is needed.”

Photo: Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Hill, managing principal of Penta Mezzanine Fund and an NBA analyst on Turner Sports, said he won’t let his failed bid discourage him from future attempts at team ownership.

“I’m an insider. I have goodwill from my time in the league and a unique perspective that most owners don’t have,” he said.

After playing for four separate NBA teams, Hill said he spent a lot of time educating himself and talking to executives like former Detroit Pistons Owner William Davidson about the business side of the NBA.

“I spent a lot of time picking his brain,” Hill said.

Hill said he’s bullish on the NBA and expects team valuations and player salaries to continue to rise over the next 10 to 15 years.

Clearly aware of supply and demand, Hill said: “It’s a great asset and there is only 30 of them.”


June 11th, 2014

Grant and Calvin Hill Talk About Team Ownership, The Clashing World of Cultural Issues and The Challenges of Professional Athletes Today

Features most recent and timely sit-down with the NFL Legend and his Superstar NBA son

New York, NY (June 2, 2014) – EPIX, the premium entertainment network, announced today that the premiere of a new 30-minute special series, “Personal with Bill Rhoden,” will air on Wednesday, June 11 at 8pm ET with a pair of America’s most elite athletes and personalities, NFL Hall-of-Famer Calvin Hill and his son, recently retired NBA superstar Grant Hill. Recorded last month in Atlanta, the show will touch on many of the current topics in American sports, from the Donald Sterling situation to race relations and the changing views and acceptance of the LGBT community to the on-going issues professional athletes and men of color face in society today. In the discussion, Grant talks frankly about his dealing with Sterling and the challenges of being a professional athlete today, while Calvin gives his unique perspective on the same issues from the vantage point of both a parent and a legendary star in the NFL. Bill Rhoden, an award-winning sports journalist with The New York Times, conducts the up close and intimate interview.

“We are very excited to have these two iconic personalities as our first guests on ‘Personal with Bill Rhoden,’” said Mark Greenberg EPIX CEO. “Our goal with all our documentaries is to discuss the issues of today, and we could not have a more timely presentation. It will be a memorable half-hour presented only as a journalist like Bill Rhoden can do.”

Grant Hill was a seven time All-Star during an 18 year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers following an All-America career at Duke University, where he helped lead the Blue Devils to a pair of NCAA Titles. Calvin Hill was a four-time Pro Bowl selection during a 13-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns after a standout career as a collegian at Yale University. They also have the unique tie of being a father/son combination to have both been named Rookie of the Year in their respective sports, Calvin in 1969-70 and Grant in 1994 – 95. More importantly than their work on the field was the respect both have gained in the business world and in their personal lives as role models and mentors to people of all ages, creeds and color.

Personal with Bill Rhoden” is a give and take between two generations of elite athletes, as each plays off Rhoden’s questions on the world we live in today and where athletes and race factor into bigger discussions in society. Calvin Hill touches on the issues he faced in the segregated south and how he has had to adjust some of his views as the world has evolved with a new-found social acceptance of people from diverse backgrounds, while Grant Hill expounds upon the use of social media as a tool for athletes to have a voice today, his reaction to the goings-on around the LA Clippers (which he is purportedly involved with one of the bidding groups), and the new-found consciousness of the American athlete in the world today, among other topics.

Downloadable Clips
Password: EP*XCLIPS

For more information visit http://press.epix.com

Personal with Bill Rhoden” is an EPIX Original Presentation produced by Starship SA, LLC. Seth G. Abraham and Tim Braine are the co-executive producers, Paul James is the director and Ross Bernard is the Executive-in-charge of production for EPIX. Abraham, who formerly headed up HBO Sports, Time Warner Sports and was the President of Madison Square Garden, founded Starship SA LLC in 2004. Braine is a multi-award winning producer of televised sports, documentaries and comedy for HBO. James has directed hundreds of national commercials and promos as well as written & directed original content for brands and corporations including HP, Sony®, HBO, Arm & Hammer®, Glad, Showtime, ESPN and CBS.

“I have wanted to create an interview program like this for 30 years and we could not have found a better way to start the series than with Grant and Calvin,” said Abraham. “Bill Rhoden’s style brought out the best in them, and we think he has set a new standard for the interview with his work on this inaugural show.”

Join the conversation about #GetPersonal on Twitter, on Facebook and on the webpage.

View original press release.

Grant Hill reflects on leaving basketball behind, looking toward future

November 27th, 2013

By Grant Hill, Special to SI.com

Grant Hill spent five years with the Phoenix Suns before heading to the Clippers for his final season in the NBA.

SI.com is taking a look at the lives of some of sports’ most notable former players across the NBA, NFL and MLB. From weighing in on life in retirement to providing their analysis on today’s crop of stars, these athletes share their thoughts.

In October 2012, I began my 19th NBA season. I felt then it could be my last. The emotional and physical investment required to play at an elite level, especially when you have played for many years, is hard to describe. However, I was comfortable in the routine of what I had done for an entire career. The rhythms of the season are comforting and I still anticipated them with excitement. The idea of changing those rhythms and not playing one day, was not attractive. After six wonderful years in Detroit, followed by seven years, five surgeries and rehab and reward in Orlando, I found a comfort zone in Phoenix. I left Phoenix for a crack at a championship with the Clippers. But going into that year, I felt it could be my last. My attitude and mindset were positive, but the year started with a nagging injury in training camp. I then missed a few months at the start of the season. The thought that this was a sign it was time to end this chapter of my life started to creep into my mind but I quickly repressed it. I was motivated to get back, to contribute to what was a well-constructed team, and to make a contribution to the success of the L.A. Clippers.

The season did not end in a championship but at its conclusion, I knew it was time. I had peace of mind. I had taken in the highs and lows of that season and I had appreciated every minute. The constant fire in the belly was extinguished. The hunger, the mental and physical fortitude necessary to maintain the edge to compete was gone. I was able to announce my retirement on TNT, surrounded by my contemporaries and friends who themselves had once faced that day. I was done. And, I was excited. I was looking forward to my next phase.

I knew I could look in the mirror and be proud that I did the best I could as a professional athlete.

Like most pro athletes, I have more than one dimension that defines me. For a long time I cast aside many things I wanted to do to concentrate on my career. Now, the difficulty I am having is trying to pace myself so that I’m not doing everything at once. For 13 years, I have had a successful real estate investment business. Two years ago, along with my partners, we started Penta Mezzanine Fund, a private investment firm in Orlando providing $2-$15 million customized growth capital solutions to profitable, lower-middle-market companies nationwide. Every day I am in town, I am in our office reviewing deals with my partners and our very talented analysts. Co-hosting Inside Stuff on NBATV and working occasionally as a studio analyst on NBATV and TNT is a thrill. I am able to stay in and around the game while sharing my perspective and insights on the players, the game itself and other issues surrounding our sport. For the second time in my professional life, I am a rookie surrounded by broadcasting veterans who are also friends and contemporaries. Steve Smith, Shaq, CWebb, Dennis Scott, Brent Barry were teammates or opponents during my playing days. Charles, Kenny, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller and many others were models for my own career as an athlete … and now as a broadcaster. Ahmad Rashad is the perfect example of an athlete who made a successful and impactful transition from pro football to another career. A contemporary and friend of my dad in the NFL, he set the standard for sports hosting in his role at Inside Stuff. It is an intimidating privilege and honor to follow in his footsteps.

Ahmad is one of many former professional athletes whom I have met and who have transitioned into a role outside their sport. Roger Staubach, Heisman winner at Navy and star QB of the Dallas Cowboys, started, built and sustained his real estate consulting business for more than 25 years. Junior Bridgeman, standout veteran of the NBA, is one of the largest franchise owners in the Wendy’s system. Jamal Mashburn and I competed head-to-head in college and in the NBA. Today he is an owner of numerous car dealerships as well as quick service restaurants. Dave Bing, one of the 50 greatest NBA players, former Piston, founder of Bing Steel and present Mayor of Detroit, sets a standard that every player should aspire to match. There are many others, many of whom I want to meet to seek their advice for my future.

I advise today’s athletes to start preparing for their retirement while they are playing. There’s a lot of life and living after retirement. I haven’t figured it all out yet. Today’s players should take advantage of the platform of their sport, of the doors opened by your pro career. When the end comes, it comes abruptly. Tap into the relationships you have developed through your career. Tap into your alumni association of your college. You are an alumnus, regardless of your length of time in college. If you want to coach, talk to coaches in the league about your interests and seek their advice.

In addition to my duties in broadcasting, private equity and real estate, I serve on the Board of the Orlando Museum of Art; I am co-chair of the Duke Class of 1994′s 20th reunion; I serve on President Obama’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; I am considering another tour of our personal collection of African American art; and I give speeches to business audiences about the lessons of sports that translate to the business world.

Without the routines and rhythms of the NBA, I find there is no “typical” day in my life. Most weekdays, I carpool my kids to and from school, try to enforce the no eating rule in the back seat, return to school for my daughter’s basketball practice three times a week, referee arguments, help with homework and participate more fully in my family’s day-to-day life. By far, that is the most rewarding and most difficult job I have.

Grant Hill, ex-NBA standout, has new broadcast career with Turner Sports, NBA TV

November 18th, 2013

Edward M. Pio Roda/Edward M. Pio Roda – After announcing his retirement after last season, Grant Hill will host a rebooted version of “NBA Inside Stuff.”

By Michael Lee, Washington Post

Grant Hill was once ashamed of the 12-inch scar along his left arm, the remnants of a strip of flesh that had to be removed to graft together the skin around his surgically repaired left ankle. It signified so many “woulda, coulda, shouldas” for a career in which his prime years were decimated by injuries. He wanted it covered so that others wouldn’t ask questions about the staph infection that nearly cost him his life and his arduous fight to keep playing basketball.

Having retired from basketball nearly six months ago, the former standout from South Lakes High in Reston has had some time to reflect on his 19-year NBA career and incredible four-year run in college. Hill now believes that the scar, which came as a result of his darkest moment in the NBA, represents his greatest triumph.

“More so than the championships at Duke, the Olympics, the all-stars, the Fila shoes, or whatever else, I think it’s the overcoming and coming back that — I don’t know if it’s legacy or whatever — but I think to people that’s the narrative, that’s the story,” Hill said. “I’m proud of having gone through it. Now looking back at it through a different perspective, it was probably foolish. I probably should’ve hung it up 10 years ago. But I am a little stubborn.”

Hill’s determination and perseverance helped him come back from five ankle surgeries to make another all-star team in 2004-05, after he had missed most of the previous four seasons. He also remade himself at the back end of his career, becoming a defensive stopper and a surprisingly durable player until his body broke down again. Once last season ended, Hill didn’t need much time to think about what was next. He was done.

“I got to the point where I just knew that, okay, it was time to move on, time to do something different. And I had not felt that way at any other point prior,” Hill said. “I think every player, you have to have a fight in you. And I think certainly, when you’re battling or struggling back from injuries or adversities, that certainly is magnified. I got tired of fighting that fight.”

Hill continued: “Certainly, I exhausted my career in terms of playing, so there will be no regrets there. I’m looking for new fights, new challenges.”

Hill, 41, is penning the next chapter of his life, which includes being a partner in a private investment firm, doing some public speaking and staying close to basketball as a broadcaster with Turner Sports. He will be most visible as the co-host for the reboot of “NBA Inside Stuff,” which airs Saturdays on NBA TV. Hill grew up watching the show and he was featured several times on the program as one of the many “main men” of former host, Ahmad Rashad.

“I’m fired up and excited. One of the sort of neat ways you stay around the game and tell the stories of the best basketball players in the world. It’s quite an honor to do so,” Hill said of his latest endeavor. “Ahmad really put his stamp on the show and made the show hugely successful. Those are giant shoes to fill. I know a thing or two about coming after greatness, being called ‘The Next’ or whatever.”

The Inside Stuff with Grant Hill: Career Stories of the Ex-NBA Star and TV Host

November 6th, 2013


Grant Hill

After the 2012-13 regular season ended, former NBA star Grant Hill was in demand on and off the court. Not only did the Los Angeles Clippers want him back, but after he retired on June 1, several television networks reached out to one of the most respected, articulate and intelligent players in the league.

But Hill was really sold on one opportunity: a chance to lead NBA TV’s Inside Stuff in its return after being off the air for eight years. Hill said the show, previously co-hosted by Ahmad Rashad and Summer Sanders, stood out to him because it profiled players behind the scenes, in their daily lives beyond the court.

While the show will feature regular staples like “Rewind” and “Jam Session,” Hill and co-host Kristen Ledlow will also explore adding creative elements during the season.

“I remember them coming out to Detroit doing some stuff for the show, and it was a big thrill,” he told Bleacher Report the day before Inside Stuff debuted on Saturday. “It was a show that I remember watching in college and even watching when I was in the league just to see who they were featuring and what was going on. Now to follow in their footsteps is a big thrill.”

Keeping to the themes of Inside Stuff, Bleacher Report rewound the clock with Hill, going on a journey with him throughout his career to discover personal and revealing stories about the game and experiences he had over 19 years. The conversation started with his days at Duke, playing for Mike Krzyzewski.

Craziest or funniest Coach K story: “Oh, man. If I tell the craziest, funniest stories, I might not be invited back there on campus. The craziest story—it wasn’t necessarily the funniest—but my freshman year playing our first game in the ACC at UVA, we lost; we got blown out. We bus back for three-and-a-half hours, we got off the bus, and he wants everybody taped and ready on the court in 10 minutes.

“We practiced, and it was the worst practice I’ve ever been a part of. I actually broke my nose during the practice. But it was also very eye-opening in that he let me know about establishing a standard of excellence. There was a lot of running, a lot of profanity, a lot of getting in our faces, but I am proud to say that after that, we never had another practice like that with Coach K.”

Coach K and Grant Hill

John W. McDonough / Getty Images 1992

Hardest adjustment to the NBA: “I think the pace of the season, the amount of games. I also think just learning to get your rest. I know that sounds crazy, but you get into a mold and routine of playing late, flying late, getting in at 2, 3 in the morning—just learning how to prepare and get yourself ready. That was the biggest adjustment. The physicality was certainly something as well. Those were probably the two main things early on.”

Michael Jordan comparison early in his career: “I kind of laughed at all of that. Certainly, I wasn’t the first ‘Next.’”

His mentors as a rookie who are still good friends: “I had Joe Dumars. I had Johnny Dawkins. I had Mark West. Those were three guys early in my career that I played with in Detroit, and to this day, we are good friends. I was with Mark for about six years in Phoenix when he was in the front office. Johnny Dawkins is coaching at Stanford—he’s been like a big brother to me through the years. Those are the types of guys that really had a meaningful impact and a great influence on me early in my career, throughout and even to the end.”

Top on-court moments: “I think one of the ones I liked the best was dunking on Alonzo (Mourning, right after they got tangled up and into a shouting match). That was pretty cool back in ’98. I get to relive it every once in a while when I see it on TV. I know I had a game against the Bulls in ’97. I had a triple-double at home, and we beat them. That was pretty cool.

“Even the experience in Phoenix. When we beat the Spurs, we swept them in the playoffs (in 2010). They had been our nemesis for so long, and to beat them, that was pretty cool. Also, the Olympics (in 1996). I’ve had a lot of great experiences throughout my career.”

Top off-court moments: “That’s the best part—the off-the-court stuff, being in the locker room with the guys, on the road, going to eat.

“I know one time, it was pretty cool, I think it was maybe my second year in the league and we played the Bulls, and after the game, I went to eat with Michael (Jordan) at his restaurant. That was fun. It was pretty cool to hang out with him. I’ve met all these guys that I grew up watching and idolizing—Dr. J, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic. The fan in you, to have an opportunity to spend time with those greats was and has been a big thrill of mine, and also getting to know some of the current guys.

“You remember the games a bit and the highlights, but it’s the relationships, it’s the experiences, it’s being a part of this fraternity that we’re all a part of, which, to me, is the most memorable. Now, we get a chance to showcase the same thing (on Inside Stuff) that I’ve seen behind closed doors for 19 years, and certainly that’s what the buzz was about the show when they had it before.”

Grant Hill fouls Michael Jordan

Andrew Cutraro / Getty Images 1998

Best individual move: “I think my favorite move, I think what I was good at was I had a good first step and I could really get to the basket. I think from that I evolved, particularly in my last few years in Detroit, into a really good mid-range shooter, and then the post was something that I was good at.”

Development of his quick crossover to pull-up jump shot: “Early in my career, I was all about getting to the hole, getting to the free-throw line, and then I started to realize that people were giving me the 10- to 15-foot jumper. I felt like I could get to that; I could get to 10 feet and put people on their heels. I worked hard at it during the lockout in ’98, and really my last year in Detroit when I was healthy. I think (my game) was really coming together then.

“Before I got hurt (in 2000), I was in a really good groove and playing at a high level, and feeling really good about beating people in different ways—beating you in the post, getting to the basket, getting to the free-throw line, in transition. The next step would’ve been probably working in a three-point shot, but I looked at it as there are like five or six ways to dominate. It was fun, and it was certainly fulfilling knowing you put a lot of hard work in to get those results.”

Best basketball trick: “I didn’t have a whole lot of tricks. I used to be able to do—I can’t do it anymore—a soccer rainbow from the free-throw line and have it go off the backboard and go up and dunk it. I used to always say that if I ever got in the Slam Dunk Contest, I would’ve done it. It might take me three tries to get it up there.

“But there are certain tricks you pick up when you’re playing, and how to go about how to hold people, how to use your leverage, do things that the refs might not see. Those things you pick up from playing with guys like Dumars or playing against guys like Jordan, and then I’d incorporate that in my game to be effective.”

Most overlooked aspect of his game: “I think what was overlooked, and I think certainly got some credit in the end, was my defense. I think because I didn’t necessarily have the responsibilities that I had earlier in my career, I was able to devote more of my time to the defense. I thought at an older age, I was able to prove that I could still go out there and play defense at a high level. I think people were shocked, but I was the Defensive Player of the Year in college, and I did play at Duke. It was something that I always felt like I was pretty good at.

“Maybe my toughness as well. Those who know me know that I put my body on the line, took charges, I dove for the ball, I never backed down. I don’t think I was really thought of as a defender. I was older and later in my career when I was probably a half a step slower and playing with one ankle.”

Potential of him and Tracy McGrady together: “Tracy was great. I think when he signed there, I didn’t even know how good he was. It was unfortunate that I was hurt, it was unfortunate that we didn’t get a chance to play together because, I’m not saying we could’ve won it that year, but I think the two of us—me in my prime and him kind of going into his—who knows what we could’ve done? We could play the what-if game all day long. It was unfortunate, but I got a chance to watch his greatness on display, and he truly was a remarkable player, particularly in his years in Orlando.”Eric Drotter / Getty Images 1995

How close he was to signing with the New York Knicks in 2009: “I was. The time that I really wanted to come and maybe would’ve come if it had been different was back in 2000, when I was a free agent out of Detroit. I was always a huge fan of New York and remember meeting with Dave Checketts and (Jeff) Van Gundy. It wasn’t even the injuries that did it; they were talking about trading Pat Ewing for me, and I wanted to play with Pat. I grew up a huge Georgetown fan—that’s why I wore 33.

“One of the reasons that I didn’t come was I just felt like not being the one that was traded for Pat Ewing. I don’t know if it would’ve happened or not, but that was when it was probably the most serious. I had visited the team a number of times and flirted with the idea, but if I was going to do New York, I wanted to be young and in my prime and have a chance to really play at a high level—not when I was an old 37-year-old.”

Impact of the Phoenix Suns’ esteemed training stuff in his later years: “They were great, especially working with (Dr.) Mike Clark. It was really good for me at that point in my career, coming off that situation in Orlando where I just struggled with injuries. Being able to go to Phoenix and be myself and play and get a lot of enjoyment from that, a lot of that was because I was able to stay healthy. They are the best; they treat the body as a whole.

“It’s hard for me to explain, but it was great working with them. I was able to go from a guy who couldn’t stay healthy to a guy who was basically an iron man for a few years. It was pretty cool.”

Thought of being a trendsetter on or off the court: “I don’t know if I was a trendsetter, but I think what was really cool for me and kind of interesting was last year going to L.A. to a team with a lot of great players—and sort of feeling a level of respect that they had for me and the things I had done and the things that I was currently doing, primarily off the court.

“I had an art collection that I toured. I collected African-American art, and I had a collection that toured for two years about seven years ago. We had it at various museums across the country and overseas. It may not have gotten a lot of publicity, but certainly in the art world, it was something outside of the norm of professional athletes.

“I don’t know if everyone really knows about that, but hopefully it inspired people that it’s OK to do something outside the box. If you have an interest or hobby or something that’s not so stereotypical, it’s OK to share that.”

Best coaches he played for: “Coach K was obviously a great coach. Doug Collins, I learned a great deal from him early in my career. Mike D’Antoni I think offensively is a mastermind and genius. I learned a great deal from him. So I’ve had a lot of coaches—some good, some bad—but I was fortunate to learn from all of them.”

Toughest player to guard: “Now that I’m retired, I can probably say now that I don’t have to see him anymore is Kobe (Bryant). I felt like I played him well, and I felt like I made him work. But I’d go out there and he’d still hit some crazy shots on me. I would’ve liked to go against him when I was younger, and I had some moments when I was in Detroit. Even in recent years, he was tough.

“It was hard to really have a game plan for him because he really didn’t have a whole lot of weaknesses. He could go either way, he could go over each shoulder in the post, he could catch and shoot, he could go off the dribble. A lot of guys have a game plan to try to stick to, and certain guys have tendencies—they prefer going over this shoulder or prefer going right or left—but with Kobe, it was hard to figure him out. I tried to give him a bunch of different looks.”

Thought of a Hill-Bryant segment on Inside Stuff: “Oh yeah. I’d love to sit down with him on the court and maybe even watch some of the plays where I was guarding him and kind of pick his brain. I always felt he was the hardest to guard. Shoot, I want to know what he’s thinking in certain situations and where he’s trying to get to. He was a competitor. It’s hard to say that and acknowledge that. I didn’t mind guarding LeBron and Melo and KD, but Kobe used to give me a lot of problems.”

Playing at 50 years old like MJ: “I don’t know. I had some nagging injuries the last few years, and it just mentally kind of wore me down and I didn’t want to keep going. I was ready to do something different. I probably could’ve gotten another two or three years. I think I really learned to take care of myself. I was under contract for another year, and it was really fulfilling for me to walk away from the game healthy—and walk away still having something left. L.A. still wanted me to come back, but it was time. It was time to go. But 50? Nah, I don’t know if I could go to 50.”

Singing with his wife, R&B artist Tamia, and his musical interests: “I can’t sing, but I can play the keyboards a little bit. If you go on YouTube, we did a little thing she posted, where she’s singing and I’m playing. I can play a little bit. That’s about it. But I can’t sing a lick. With the keyboards, I do current stuff, stuff that my kids like, so everything from the Commodores to Rihanna. It might take me a while to figure it out, but I’ll figure it out.”

More dad time: “I’m busy, but it’s been good sort of balancing and juggling all the things that I have going on, and I get a lot of joy from following them and supporting them and carpooling and play dates. It’s cool. I’m having a blast.”

Other ideas in post-retirement: “I have a lot of interests, a lot of things that I want to try to accomplish. The key for me is not to try to do it all at once, but I have a real strong appetite for building a number of business things. They’re going on right now. I do have an appreciation for the humanities, art, theater—things of that nature. I’m not sure I necessarily want to try to monetize things in that regard. I love politics as well. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and that was something that was always a topic of conversation as a kid and through my adolescence.

“The great thing now is I have time to pursue those and to jump right in, so I’m excited about it. I refuse to believe that the best is behind; I believe the best is in front.”