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Jason Kidd and Grant Hill Announce Retirements

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

Two of the most respected NBA vets retire days apart after coming into the NBA together 19 Years ago.

Jason Kidd and Grant Hill Announce Retirements

 

The NBA lost two highly respected veterans to retirement recently as Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill and New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd decided to call it quits within a three span day. Hill appeared on TNT’s pregame show prior to Saturday night’s Game 6 between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers to announce his retirement; Kidd retired Monday afternoon.  

"I'm glad to say I'm done," said the 40-year old Hill on Saturday. "I'm officially retired, moving on from playing. I had a great run. I'm announcing it now. ...I've been hinting at it the last few years. You get to a point where you just don't want to do it anymore but I've enjoyed it. I've loved it."

Hill was able to prolong his career by changing the type of player that he was, adapting as he grew older so that he was able to fill a role with an NBA team even with diminishing athleticism. This is evident by the fact that he is one of only 17 players to compile over 17,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists in a career.  Of the 12 players on that list eligible to be in the Hall of Fame, all of them are there.  The active players also on the list are Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd, all future Hall of Famers.

Hill’s stats in the early part of his career are rivaled by very few in the history of the NBA. He was one of only six players to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in their first six seasons in the NBA.  The other players on that list are Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.

Even with all of those accomplishments statistically, Hill will be remembered by a lot of people for his inability to stay healthy in the middle of his career.  Ankle injuries derailed his career, allowing him to play in only 47 games in a four year span with the Orlando Magic from 2000-2004.  

Even with that hiccup in the middle, he was able to rack up some impressive accolades as he was one of the top basketball players not only in the NBA but in the world in the 1990’s. He won two national championships at Duke, an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996 with Team USA and received All-NBA Honors five times. Another accomplishment for Hill was how he overcame those injuries in Orlando, as he played in 80 plus games with the Suns in three consecutive seasons.  Hill will finish his NBA career with averages of 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 33.9 minutes per game.

The career arc of Kidd was very similar to Hill’s with the only big difference being the fact he avoided the big injuries, missing only 119 games in 19 seasons compared to over 400 for Hill.  Kidd, like Hill, dominated his position in the NBA.  Kidd was a threat to go off for a triple-double every time he stepped on the court, finishing his career for third on the all-time list with 107. Kidd also finished second all-time in assists with 12,091 and steals with 2,684 behind John Stockton. Kidd was also named to the All-Star team 10 times and led the NBA in assists five times.

Much like Hill, Kidd was a winner wherever he went in his basketball career.  Kidd Olympic Gold Medals in 2000 and 2008, adding an NBA Championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. This goes right in line with what the 40-year old Kidd said when asked how he wanted to be remembered by, when he responded with, "The biggest thing is winning. No matter what percentage, no matter what my numbers say in the sense of points, assists, rebounds and steals, it's always been about winning. And it will always be about winning… making my teammates better."   

Kidd will retire with career averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game and after making the postseason for 17 consecutive seasons. The most impressive turnaround throughout his career very well could have been his three point shooting, as he could not hit water if he fell out of a boat when he first entered the NBA. By the time his career was through, Kidd finished third all-time in three-pointers made with 1,988, behind only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.

It is fitting that both players will be going out of the league together as they came into it together as well and shared so many things throughout their careers.  Both players are part of an illustrious stats list and played for four franchises each; Hill the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Clippers while Kidd suited up for the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets and Knicks. They both also shared the ability to put the team first, something many NBA players cannot and will not do.  With their age increasing and skills diminishing, both players went from being franchise cornerstones and transitioned into role players without any fuss or problems. The biggest accomplishment they each shared though was the NBA Rookie of the Year award for the 1994-1995 season, being named co-recipients.

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