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Grant Hill, Steve Nash: Hall Of Famers Both On And Off The Court

Grant Hill was on his way to legendary status, averaging 25.8 points per game for the Detroit Pistons in 1999-2000, but injuries took away some of his best years. 

We all saw what awaited for the son of former Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill and Janet Hill. Hill was supposed to take the torch from Michael Jordan, with his clean-cut image and all-around skills, eventually propelling him to most complete player in the game status.

Ballislife.com on Twitter

Did you know Grant Hill… Was the leading All-Star vote-getter his 1st 2 seasons in the NBA (over MJ & Shaq)? Was 3rd in MVP votes during his 3rd season? Was only behind the Big O, Larry Bird & LeBron for most PTS, REB, AST after 6 seasons? https://t.co/KHiwAnFi3f

Through six seasons in Detroit, Hill was a Swiss-army knife, rim-rocker that averaged an elite 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game. The former Duke star is part of the fabric of the evolution of the sport. A master in the transition game and the lost art of lockdown defense, capable of defending cats on the perimeter, pulling boards, setting a high-octane pace on the court and finishing with fervor above the rim. 

SB Nation on Twitter

Grant Hill was a point forward in a world where the point forward didn’t exist yet. Despite all the ‘what ifs’ that come with his career, he’s still going to the Hall of Fame https://t.co/vRu0uJEJUu

A weak ankle ensured that he was never the same player after missing the 03-04 season. During his six-year stint in Orlando, during the prime years of his career, Hill averaged just 33 games a season as he struggled with his physical ailments, tried to play through them and only made it worse.

But his will to survive, his humility, his love for the game and a white Point God from Canada, helped Hill play another nine years, carve out a solid 19-year career and retire at the ripe old age 40. 

Steve Nash to Grant Hill

With Steve Nash officially announcing his retirement, I’ve decided to publish this video. I made sure I had something on the back-burner for when this day happened so forgive the roughness of it. Steve Nash and Grant Hill only have two years that separate them, meaning that they were two of the oldest players in the NBA in their final years in Phoenix.

Its fitting that Hill will be entering the 2018 Hall of Fame class with former Phoenix Suns teammate Steve Nash, a player whose astute court awareness and ball distribution skills heavily influenced Hill’s revival. Hill and Nash played together on the Suns for Hills entire five-year tenure in the Valley. With the Suns, Hills decreased minutes and offensive responsibilities led to three-straight seasons of 80 or more games played. 

In five seasons with Phoenix (2007-12) , Hill started 343 of 362 games and averaged over 30 minutes and 12 points per night. He was an integral part of the team’s run to the 2010 Western Conference Finals, starting every playoff game and averaging a solid 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. 

The star of that team was two-time MVP Nash, a master craftsman from the North by way of South Africa. Nash was a magician with the pill who could also penetrate and drill the long-range bomb. Nash had two stints with the Suns. He balled out from 1996-98 and then was traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he teamed with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley to form a “Big Three.” Nash returned to The Valley and had a glorious run from 2004-2012, where he built a Hall of Fame career and culturally impacted the NBAs white fan base in a Larry Birdesque manner. 

Steve Nash Passes Magic Johnson in Career Assists

Watch as Steve Nash throws a nice alley-oop pass to Dwight Howard to tie Magic Johnson, then breaks the Laker great’s career record.

In total, Nash played 744 games in Phoenix and was the most important player on the legendary 7 Seconds or Less teams led by Mike D’Antoni. Nash is one of the last true point gods in the NBA. In the mold of Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas, he was known for making everyone around him better, averaging 17.2 points and 11 assists during his MVP campaigns. 

Amar’e Stoudemire and a host of other players, including Hill were the beneficiaries of Nashs ability to make a basketball game his own personal chess match,  and he was checkmating suckas from the door. Together Nash and Hill won 228 games together in five seasons, losing in the 2010 Western Conference Finals in six games to the Lakers and providing the Phoenix Suns with a taste of elite NBA living that the franchise hasnt recaptured since. 

Steve Nash’s Top 13 Plays on the Suns

Take a look at the top 13 plays of Steve Nash’s Suns career. About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. The league is truly global, with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, as well as NBA rosters at the start of the 2015-16 season featuring 100 international players from 37 countries and territories.

Hills leadership, humility, grace, character, and resiliency won him three NBA Sportsmanship Awards in his career. Two of them came with the Suns and Nash was very similar to Hill in that he was universally respected for his character and being a strong, positive locker room presence. They were silent assassins. Both men continue to contribute to philanthropic causes and Nash has been vocal about his politics. In 2006, Nash he was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Hill continues to be the ultimate pro in his job as an NBA and college analyst for CBS/Turner Sports. 

Social Ambassador on Twitter

New #SportsPhilanthropy Blog -Steve Nash: Sports Philanthropy Star http://t.co/yjO0CgtU0d via @SportsBlog @AllSportsU

In an era where athletes were routinely portrayed as thugs, Grant Hill and Steve Nash were the exceptions. Gentlemen on and off the court, easily marketable ambassadors of the sport of basketball and more than worthy additions to the Hall of Fame. 

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