| Post No. 2 |
❗️Disclaimer: This post is more of a rant than anything else it could possibly be.❗️
Grant Henry Hill. For NBA fans that were born after 1994 or so, that name may mean much of nothing. He’s merely “that guy” who played mediocre minutes for the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers throughout the latter part of his career, then retired in 2013. Or depending on how late into the last decade of the 20th century you were born, Hill may simply be “that dude” that announces the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and stars on NBA Inside Stuff (Where’s Ahmad Rashad when you need him?).
Luckily for you, I’m here to enhance your basketball knowledge and enlighten you on how much he truly was. And it’s actually a rather easy picture to paint. Grant Hill was the 1990s/2000s’ version of the man who is an ESPN 30 for 30 in the making, Derrick Rose.
We’re not even five games into the season and the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has yet again shown his fragility. He’ll be sporting his freshest suits from the sideline for the next few contests or so with a sprained ankle. The injury took place on a questionable flagrant foul from Milwaukee Bucks’ Center, Greg Monroe.
D-Rose was once (the past tense pains me) an explosive scorer who stepped onto the scene and quickly made a name for himself by effortlessly accelerating past defenders to finesse the finish. It amazed me how gracefully he eluded the defense by floating through the air and acrobatically contorting his body.
When he became bored with exhibiting his unique package of finger rolls and layups, he’d take a more powerful approach and flush the rock through the rim with no remorse. And Grant Hill would do much of the same.
Both Rose and Hill were selected as All-Stars on multiple occasions, earned All-NBA First Team honors, and were awarded Rookie of the Year.
At any point you can YouTube a substantial amount of highlight footage for either player.
Unfortunately, each of these former All-Stars left years of highlights behind, and maybe even championships as they rolled around in agony on hardwood floors season after season. For Hill, it was his ankle. For Rose, it’s been his knees.
I had already begun planning the passing of the torch from Kobe Bryant to Derrick Rose once the Black Mamba retired. After watching Rose play one game at the University of Memphis, I instantly became a believer and knew he’d be my favorite player going forward. Even after Rose’s initial ACL tear in 2012, I was still on board.
The second time that he tore his meniscus as a Chicago Bull, I pretty much had given up all hope that he’d return to the 2010 MVP who’s game I had gained great admiration for.
My dad told me that this would happen after I repeatedly ridiculed him about Hill’s injuries, all while knowing that was one of his favorite players.
“Just wait. One day, there’ll be a player that you love to watch, he’ll have that one big injury and never be able to recover. Watch.” He’d say jokingly.
Well dad … you were right again!
Some accredit his injury-bitten body to his aggressive play and the hard-nosed coaching of Tom Thibodeau early on in his career. But much like Hill, I chalk it up as bad luck.
Then again, maybe this is all my fault. If I had never pointed and laughed at Grant Hill’s struggles, this bad karma would’ve never come back around to bite me, and Derrick Rose would be a three-time MVP and/or NBA champion by now. Instead, we all have been left to wonder about what should’ve, would’ve and certainly could’ve been.