Grant Hill retires from the NBA after 18 seasons

Grant Hill announced his retirement Saturday night, moments before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hill joined TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew and summed up his career closing in two words: “I’m done.”

Hill played 18 NBA seasons with the Pistons, Magic, Suns and Clippers.

In 1996, Hill beat out Michael Jordan as the leading vote-getter in the NBA All-Star Game. He was that popular.

In his first six seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. The third overall pick in 94’s draft was a potential triple-double threat on any given night.

His endorsements ranged from Fila sneakers – yes Hill made Fila temporarily cool – to Sprite. His last 12 seasons in the league were marred by ankle injuries, which first emerged during his final season with the Pistons in 2000.

Hill was never the same player after signing a free agent contract with the Orlando Magic that summer and would undergo multiple surgeries throughout what should have been the ‘prime’ of his career.

“I do regret [coming back early from injury],” Hill said Saturday of playing through pain. “I did come back many times too early from injuries.”

Shaquille O’Neal had posed the question to Hill with Derrick Rose’s injury situation in mind — the Bulls superstar’s ‘condition’ has been a constant topic of discussion throughout this NBA season. Despite being medically cleared to play by team doctors, Rose has remained on the sideline. The Heat ultimately eliminated the Bulls in the playoffs’ second round.

Hill’s career with the Magic, Suns and Clippers may not have produced the same highlights as his Piston days, but the 40-year-old’s perseverance through injury commanded the respect of his NBA peers. Hill never reached the NBA Finals, but helped the Suns reach the Western Conference Finals in 2010. The Suns had the eventual NBA champs even after the first four games, but ultimately fell in six games.

Off the court, Hill has been a model of stability. He’s been honored several times for his community service work and has been married to R&B singer Tamia since 1999.

His next stop could be the Hall of Fame but for now, it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of Hill on future NBA broadcasts.

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj