Former Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill hung up his sneakers this season after a 19-year NBA career that saw him battle through multiple ankle and knee injuries.
The third overall pick in the 1994 draft, Hill had countless battles with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as recently as 2010 in the Western Conference Finals, with the Suns losing in six games. Now retired, Hill is the new host of Inside Stuff on NBATV and admitted to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report that Kobe was his toughest assignment:
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.
Bryant broke into the league just two years after Hill as Kobe is still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered last April against the Golden State Warriors. Unlike Hill, Bryant has been fortunate to play through his injuries as he changed his Twitter avatar this morning to suggest he could be back in close to two weeks.
Against Hill and the Suns in the 2010 WCF, Bryant averaged 33.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.3 assists as he shot 52 percent from the field and the lasting image was him smacking Suns coach Alvin Gentry on the backside after a clutch three-pointer.
Bryant and Hill locked up for 34 games against each other, with Kobe and the Lakers coming out on top 26 times. Against Hill, Bryant averaged 26.7 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists while Hill averaged 15 points.
Always a “what if” player, Hill was one of the good guys in the league and it was always a pleasure to see him try and guard one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players.
VIDEO: Jordan Hill Buys 20 Tickets To Lakers Home Opener For Breast Cancer Survivors