The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is the crowning honour of any successful basketball career. It is an elite club, containing some of the most important people to the game of basketball, they don’t just let anyone in.
Does Grant Hill deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? While there is some discussion on the matter, Grant Hill deserves to be in the NBA Hall of Fame for his incredible career, even if it did not live up to initial expectations.
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In 2018, Grant Hill joined the ranks of the elite when he was voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, Ora Mae Washington and Charlie Scott.
It was a brilliant moment as Hill was enshrined in the Hall of Fame and it is an achievement that cannot be taken away from him. It is also a clear sign that Hill had an excellent career and the Detroit Pistons made the right choice by taking him third overall in 1994. It makes Hill one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
However, not everyone was happy about Hill being entered into the Hall of Fame. But there are certainly a lot of reasons why Hill should be.
The first is looking at Hill’s career as a whole, his accomplishments and how they compare to others who are in the Hall of Fame in Springfield. It all starts with an incredible run with the Detroit Pistons after he was drafted third overall, having excelled in college with Duke, winning two championships.
During his time with Detroit, Hill would be voted to the All-Star game five times, including in his rookie season where he won NBA Co-Rookie of the Year alongside Jason Kidd who was drafted one position before Hill. These were certainly not the only accomplishments that Hill had during his time with Detroit.
He was voted to the All-NBA First Team in 1997 and featured on the All-NBA Second Team four times. Sadly for Hill, these accomplishments did not come with any championships, in fact, Hill did not get past the first round in his four playoff appearances with the Pistons, certainly not a good sign for Hill but he usually had very little help in his time in Detroit.
At this time, it looked like Hill would go on to become a superstar and would be undoubtedly a Hall of Famer when his career ended. But it certainly did not go this way. A broken ankle that he picked up a week before the 2000 NBA playoffs turned out to alter his career as Hill struggled massively with injuries over the next few years.
His time in Orlando certainly did not help his run at making the Hall of Fame as Hill barely played due to injuries stemming from playing on his broken ankle during the 2000 playoffs. Despite this, Hill remained a popular man and was voted to the all-star game for 2001 despite only playing four games in the 2000-2001 season.
Hill did have a couple of good seasons in Orlando and Hill’s 2004-2005 season where he managed to play 67 games for the Magic and was voted to his seventh and final NBA All-Star Game.
After a move to Phoenix, Hill established himself as a durable veteran for many years for the Suns as ankle rotation therapy had finally helped Hill to play a full season. His time in Phoenix may not have come with any major accomplishments but it certainly helped him.
Longevity is important to the voters of the Hall of Fame and his time in Phoenix meant that Hill had a long 19-season career where he finally made it past the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals. After a short season with the Clippers, Hill hung up his sneakers.
It ended a brilliant career but there was some call that he does not have the resume to be in the hall of fame. Hill looked set to become one of the best players in the NBA and an outright superstar when he signed his huge deal to go to Orlando. But the Magic massively regretted that move as he never lived up to his potential.
Having only gone past the first round of the playoffs once in a long career, Hill does not have the team success that fellow classmen Ray Allen and Jason Kidd as they both have championships. Hill also does not have anywhere near as good a resume as Steve Nash, the 2-time MVP also being voted to the Hall of Fame in 2018.
Hill does stand out when you compare him to the other former NBA players who were in his Hall of Fame class. So if you were to just look at his NBA career then maybe there is more of a case that Grant Hill is not a Hall of Famer.
But the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is not just a place for great NBA players. It is all the Hall of Fame for all of basketball, with Hill voted in alongside WNBA superstar Tina Thompson and two-time EuroLeague champion Dino Rada. Voters won’t just be looking at Hill’s NBA career.
So looking at his time in college, there is no doubt that Hill is one of the best players in NCAA history. Coming out of high school, he ignored his parent’s wishes and chose to go to Duke. In his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, Hill became a two-time NCAA champion, playing an important role in a team led by Christian Laettner.
Hill led the team back to another NCAA Tournament final in his last year before being drafted. His number 33 jersey was retired by Duke and Hill was good enough in college to be drafted third overall in 1994. When you combine his achievements in college with a career that included several personal accolades, Grant Hill definitely deserves his place in the Hall of Fame