On Tuesday Grant Hill became the first active player to be elected to the basketball Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors.
It remains to be seen whether Hill will also become the first player without a ring whose prime was decimated by injuries to earn induction into the Hall of Fame.
As for the Board of Governors honor, Hill gets a three-year term to be one of the 22 Board of Governors, a group chaired by former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. This group oversees the management of the Hall by promoting the Hall’s mission “to celebrate the greatest moments and people in basketball on a worldwide basis.”
“It is truly an honor to be elected as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Governors and to represent the living history of basketball,” Hill said in a release. “It is important for the current generation of players to get involved with the Hall to help recognize the greatest in the game who have gone before us.”
Added Colangelo: “Grant Hill has been one of the most dedicated, honorable and well-respected individuals the game has ever seen,” said Colangelo. “The Board recognized that Grant has offered a high level of leadership and integrity both on and off the court for so many years at all levels of the game.”
An honor like this is why I feel Hill has a shot at the Hall despite having the prime of his career being wiped out by injuries. He’s the only NBA player to ever win three Sportsmanship Awards and is an elite ambassador to the game and mentor for young players.
His first six seasons were Hall of Fame worthy as well, as he consistently scored 20 points a game while filling up the box score. He averaged a career-high 25.8 in 1999-00 and tossed up a 21.4-9.0-7.3 in 1996-97. After six seasons he accumulated 9,393 points, 3,417 rebounds and 2,720 assists, numbers only Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and LeBron James have surpassed in that time.
In other words he was on his way to being a Hall of Famer until he played 47 games his first four years in Orlando, missing 2003-04 altogether.
But that wasn’t it for Hill as he has reinvented himself as an excellent role player in Phoenix by putting together four straight healthy seasons. He averaged 13.2 ppg while playing elite defense at the age of 38 this year.
Overall Hill’s resume includes the following honors: co-Rookie of the Year, seven-time All-Star, one All-NBA First Team, four All-NBA Second Teams, one Olympic gold medal and two college NCAA championships.
BasketballReference.com’s Hall of Fame Monitor gives Hill a score of 119, whereas a 135 denotes a likely Hall of Famer. Injuries prevented Hill’s prime from making him a definite Hall of Famer, but at this point he may be close enough for honors such as this Board of Governors seat to push him over the top.
Kerr broadcasting D’Antoni
I’ve really enjoyed listening to Steve Kerr call games this year because it provides a window into the thinking of the man who built the 2010-11 Phoenix Suns.
Tonight presented an interesting dynamic with the former Suns general manager announcing a game coached by his former head coach, Mike D’Antoni.
Kerr and D’Antoni, you may remember, didn’t see eye to eye after the Suns’ 2008 playoff ouster to San Antonio, with Kerr wanting D’Antoni to place a heavier focus on defense and to develop a deeper bench.
Fast forward to Tuesday night and the Knicks — a team with similar issues with defense and depth — allowed Delonte West to take the clock from 4.1 to 0.6 in a one-point game with nary a chase, and Kerr commented, “It’s the same old story, same movie, same ending, execution in the last two minutes. … When the game’s on the line the Celtics make the plays and the Knicks have been close, but they just haven’t been able to finish it off.”
In a different time and place, Kerr could have been talking about Amare and the Knicks as Phoenix and the veteran Celtics as the veteran Spurs when the Suns were close but shoddy execution down the stretch of Game 1 of 2008 in particular allowed San Antonio to finish them off.