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Is Grant Hill’s jersey retired?

Grant Hill has a great NBA resume with lots of different accomplishments, particularly in the first six years of his career. Despite injury problems and a near-fatal infection, Hill is still one of the best players of his generation. 

Is Grant Hill’s jersey retired? Grant Hill has his number 33 jersey retired by the Duke Blue Devils. However, his jersey is not retired by any of the four NBA teams that Hill played for. 

Duke basketball has had an incredible list of NBA products. The list includes players like Christian Laettner, JJ Redick, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum. With such a list of NBA greats, it is one of the highest honours that players like Laettner and Shane Battier have enjoyed. 

Hill is another one of those players with his jersey retired. If you look at his Duke career It makes sense that his jersey is retired. Coming out of South Lakes high school in Virginia, Hill was a highly touted prospect who ignored the wishes of his mother and father who wanted him to go to Georgetown and North Carolina respectively. 

Instead, Hill decided to attend Duke University and it very quickly looked like the right decision. In his first season with Duke, Hill did not necessarily play a massive role within the team but still contributed enough to help Duke to the universities first-ever NCAA title in their fifth final. 

One title would have made the decision a good one, but Hill improved even more in his second year. His role in the Duke team began to expand as Hill became Second-team All-ACC. His performances once again helped Duke to the title. It was incredible for Duke to win back-to-back titles having never won one before. 

When you look back at those title-winning teams, the first person people think about will not be Grant Hill. Christian Laettner was the star of those Duke teams but this was when Hill was in his freshman and sophomore years and considering that, he was very impressive. 

But once Laettner left, Hill became a star for Duke despite the team failing to win a title in the last two years that Hill was attending. In 1993, Hill became consensus second-team All-American as well as first-team All-ACC. 

Hill was also NACB Defensive Player of the Year, one of the highest awards in college basketball that has been awarded to NBA superstars like Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis and Shane Battier. 

Hill’s final season with Duke saw him become one of the best players in the country. Hill was consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC. He was able to guide Duke back to the NCAA final where they lost to Arkansas by just four points. 

Since being drafted third overall, Hill has been acknowledged as one of the greatest players in the history of Duke basketball. Just after leaving the school, his number 33 jersey was retired. It is not his only achievement with Duke. 

Hill was named in the ACC 50th Anniversary Men’s basketball team which honoured the 50 greatest players in the history of the ACC. In 2016, Hill was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame. It is exactly the sort of recognition that Hill deserves. 

Despite all of this recognition at NCAA level, Hill does not have his jersey retired by any of the four NBA teams that he played for. The obvious candidate for this would be the team that drafted him, the Detroit Pistons. 

Detroit drafted Hill third overall in 1994. Hill would go on to play six seasons with Detroit and he was excellent from his first season, averaging 20 points per game and winning Co-Rookie of the Year. During his time in Detroit, Hill would become a five-time all-star and he was on the All-NBA First Team in 1997. 

Hill was quickly becoming one of the best players in the NBA in his final years with the Pistons, leaving the team in 2000 when he hit free agency. His time with the Pistons would be Hill’s best years in the NBA as ankle injuries would slow Hill down after he left Detroit. 

If there was any team that could retire his jersey it would be the Pistons but it doesn’t look like this will ever happen and there are a few reasons for it. The first is simply that Hill’s time in Detroit did not come with any championships. The Pistons have players like Isiah Thomas,

Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups jerseys retired and it is because they were all part of championship-winning teams. 

The other is that Hill has been critical of the team since he left. After leaving Detroit, Hill’s career was plagued by injuries and he was never the same player again. The main issue that did not go away was an ankle injury that stemmed from Hill rolling his ankle a week before the 2000 playoffs were due to start

The reason that Hill has been critical is that the Pistons initially diagnosed the injury as a bone bruise so he tried to play through it in the playoffs before further scans revealed it was a broken ankle instead. Playing on the injury led to it becoming much worse and it altered Hill’s career trajectory completely. 

It seems unlikely that Hill will ever get his jersey retired by any NBA team as he was nowhere near as good for the Magic, Suns or Clipper as he was for the Pistons. Despite this, Hill appears to be pretty content with the fact his jersey will never be retired. 

Yahoo Sports asked Hill about this and he said “if it doesn’t happen, it still means a lot and it doesn’t change how I feel, the years that I had, and the experiences and relationships throughout the years”. So it seems like Hill does not massively mind his jersey not being retired and you can understand why the Pistons don’t feel the need to retire his jersey as Hill is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.