Saturday, July 2, 2022

“They were calling me the next Michael Jordan, I thought it was foolish, but I leveraged that”: How Grant Hill turned the huge pressure into opportunity in the absence of His Airness

Fans assumed Grant Hill to be the next Michael Jordan when His Airness was out of the league, and the comparison brought a lot of endorsements for the man, if not anything else.

Grant Hill, without question, is the biggest “What If” in the NBA. The 6’8 small forward came out of Duke a decade after Michael Jordan had come into the league, as a 3approx overall pick by the Detroit Pistons.

The 2x NCAA champion with Duke, who played under Coach K and is one of the greatest Blue Devils of all time, recently appeared on All The Smoke. He talked to fellow former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson about the weight of expectations he had as soon as he came into the league.

“You go in college where, every year, you feel like you have a chance to win a championship, and now all of a sudden, you’re losing more games than you lost in a lifetime.”

Also read: “You see how much Stephen Curry runs, no way Michael Jordan was doing that”: Reggie Miller on why he’d have Scottie Pippen defend the Chef

Grant Hill leveraged endorsements out of Michael Jordan comparisons if nothing else

The 7x All-Star revealed how he was chosen to be the next face of the league as he came in the year after Jordan retired from the NBA for the first time and was playing Major League Baseball.

MJ surprisingly came back at the end of the year but the regular season was enough for Grant to leave his impression on the world and made his 1st All-Star appearance the very first year. That resulted in him getting a lot of commercials and endorsements.

“I was surprised at all the fans because they kept trying to make me the face of the league. I’m thinking. We won 28 games, my friend. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but that first year was crazy, man. Like it was, you know, new shoes, you got commercials, endorsements. They were trying to call me the next Jordan. I thought it was foolish, but I leveraged that. I didn’t turn down the deals, but it was hard because we were losing.”

In his first 6 seasons in the NBA, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game and made All-Star appearances in five of those years.

Although he was not a player close to Mike, he had the capability of becoming the superstar in the league, which changed suddenly after his ankle injury in 2000.

In the next 13 years, he’d average 13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game playing for Magic, Suns, and Clippers before calling it a day in 2013.

Also read: “Michael Jordan hitting Scottie Pippen with the no-look, behind-the-back pass is the coldest thing ever”: NBA Twitter reacts as an old clip of MJ dishing a beautiful pass to his Bulls teammate goes viral

The Hall of Famer is still a regular sighting courtside as he calls the games for CBS and Turner Sports while also owning a stake in the Atlanta Hawks franchise. So, comparisons to Mike did him a favor if you were still wondering.

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