Tag Archives: Grant Hill

grant hill

Grant Hill was a True Blue Legend

grant hillIt was another hot summer day in Durham, North Carolina and I strolled into Sam’s Quick Shop for a cool drink. Still a main stay for beverages for Duke students today, Sam’s, a convenience store near campus, then featured a full newsstand.

Back in the corner was Grant Hill who has a penchant for reading the latest gossip in the Star and Enquirer. Dressed in long Levi shorts which were the thing in the early 90’s, Hill like many other Duke Basketball players was a main stay at the location.

Anyhow, on another occasion, I saw him reading a magazine and for whatever reason I remember the cover featured an article on a young music artist named Tamia. At the time that meant nothing for me but the name somehow stuck in my memory and Tamia would eventually become Hills’ wife.

That is but one of the many memories I have about Grant and probably one of the more impertinent ones for he was a true Duke legend, but somehow, no memories of Grant seem small.

Of course, the biggest memory for me was his amazing pin point accurate pass to Christian Laettner in that much ballyhooed win over Kentucky in one of the most famous games in history.

I remember going to Sam’s the year before to buy a copy of the Sports Illustrated he appeared on which captured his amazing dunk over Kansas on the cover with his fade hair cut in play.  The team was like Rock Stars back in the day and there was no shortage of press for their accomplishments.

From G.Q. magazine to the many daily newspapers which still carried major weight back in the day, Duke players and Grant were the new kids on the block and in that day media darlings.  Perhaps, the success of the back to back teams, is a major reason why the guys who were considered and called “America’s team,” at the time eventually became more and more vilified, not much unlike the New York Yankees where you love them or hate them.

Grant Hill memories no matter how big or small are special to Duke fans. The aforementioned cover was of course the year before the “shot,” or the “pass,” in Hills case. And there in lies the key to why his memories are extra special.

As a freshman, Hill helped lead Duke to their first national championship under Mike Krzyzewski and the first one is always special.  Winning the first title legitimized Duke as one of the nations best and the rest is as they say history.

Before that happened Duke fans thirsted and dreamed of a national championship for their program and it would never have happened without Sir Grants’ contributions.

Sir Grant! That has a nice ring to it and I suppose a retired jersey serves as a special reminder as to how good he was. But if Coach K were to “Knight,” his players, Hill would certainly be one of them, if not the first of them.

Grant Hill has long held a special place in my heart as a fan and he is pretty much on equal ground with Christian Laettner as my all time favorite player.

Hill was one of the most talented players ever to wear the Duke uniform. In some ways he is the Blue Devils version of Michael Jordan in that his contributions have been immensely valuable to the program.

Some of you never got to see his exploits or the drive the contingent of Laettner, Hill and Hurley shared. Hill was a part of the first great Duke teams and at it’s core. He was the glue guy and a player Krzyzewski never had to worry about being ready to play.

When you’ve been around as long as I have, special memories can almost run together over the years. In fact, it’s overwhelming to think back on the beginning of the K era at Duke and to have lived it to this day.

But while some memories fade, those I have of Grant Hill no matter how small stick out. Things like when he returned to campus with the Detroit Pistons for s summer practice when Chis Collins’s dad was at the helm.

No matter how insignificant any memory seems with concern to Grant, one would think that they  should all form together in some way where I can more easily express them in some special way.

But with concern to Grant, all I can really say is he was truly one of the most special players to ever come through Durham and no matter how hard I try, there is just no way to properly convey that through words.

Grant Hill recently announced his retirement from the NBA after a 19 year career

Monday Musings – Dukies in NBA, ESPN ACC TV deal, Alabama-Duke football

It's a rainy Monday in Durham, N.C. but a little Blue Devil spirit will brighten your day.

The NBA conference finals feature three former Blue Devils in former teammates JJ Redick and Shelden Williams and the ageless Grant Hill.  Redick had a nice game off the bench by scoring nine points but his team couldn’t rally and go down 1-0 to the Boston Celtics.  Shelden Williams didn’t get off the bench for the Celts.  The amazing 37 year old Grant Hill will try and help lead the Phoenix Suns past the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant in game one of their series which starts tonight.  It’s good to see Grant still playing with savvy after dealing with numerous injuries early in his career.

While it is not yet official, it seems as if  ESPN will obtain the rights to ACC basketball and football games.  Sources are saying that Fox Sports drove the price up by narrowly missing it’s goal.  In fact, if the deal is finalized as expected, the ACC’s revenue more than doubled. There will be efforts to provide broadband telecasts meaning that there could be a way to see every game your team plays.  Raycom held the rights to the ACC for more than a decade and they will now have to purchase the games from ESPN to continue their telecasts.  While the aforementioned is expected, it remains to be seen where this leaves FSN.  As the deal finalizes and all the facts come out it’s hard to see the long term effect but one thing is for sure, the ACC came out as winners here.

I was talking with a long time scalper at a local establishment this past weekend and after that conversation it would be wise to get Duke-Alabama football tickets sooner rather than later if you want to attend.  The game will be sold out.  How often does the defending national champion with the Heisman trophy winner in tow visit Wallace Wade Stadium?  And Alabama fans?  They’ll come in like a tide.

There are three more dates left to catch the Duke Athletics tour featuring David Cutcliffe.  For those of you  who can make it, here are the remaining dates –

WASHINGTON, DC
May 20
6:00-7:30 pm
Blackfinn American Saloon
1620 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
CONTACT: Samantha Kozub (919-613-7554)

WINSTON-SALEM, NC
May 25
5:30-7:00 pm
ISP Headquarters
540 North Trade Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
CONTACT: Whitney Dunlap (919-613-7557)

DURHAM, NC
May 26
5:30-7:00 pm
Tobacco Road Sports Café
Diamond View II
280 South Magnum Street
Durham, NC 27701
CONTACT: Samantha Kozub (919-613-7554)

Redick, Hill, Williams turn out in force to support Coach K and watch Dawkins in Orlando

Grant Hill chat with Coach K, Jeff Capel and Mike Brey - copyright BDN Photo
Grant Hill chat with Coach K, Jeff Capel and Mike Brey - copyright BDN Photo

ORLANDO – Duke was sending a message to prospects this weekend, that being, if you come to Duke you are a part of a family.  You can add to that, once you are in the family, it’s for life.

As the AAU Nationals continued in sunny Orlando, Florida, there was quite a Duke flavor permeating the arenas.

Mike Kryzyzewski arrived on the scene with Steve Wojcichowski today, where they joined Chris Collins following prospective Duke targets.

Imagine being a future Dukie and looking up in the stands and seeing not only your assistant coaches, but Hall of Famer Grant Hill and JJ Redick.

That was the case for Andre Dawkins, the class of 2010 commitment who plays with Boo Williams.

“JJ was fun to watch when I was coming up.  He had such fire and swagger about him and opponents hated him.  And that’s what you want, you don’t want your opponents to like you.  It was great to see them out here supporting me,” said Dawkins after his teams win.

I asked Andre what it was like to be a part of the Duke family and he paused before saying, “It’s a lot of fun but I don’t know if it’s quite sunk in yet.”

Chris Collins and JJ Redick watched Andre Dawkins game Monday evening - copyright BDN Photo
Chris Collins and JJ Redick watched Andre Dawkins game Monday evening - copyright BDN Photo

Just before Grant Hill went to watch Andre Dawkins with Wojo and Collins, he sat with Mike Krzyzewski who was also sitting with former Duke assistant and current Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.

But Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel was also there, as was Roshown McCleod, Jason Williams and Johnny Dawkins.

All of the former players paid tribute to their former coach who just came in from not only watching prospects in Las Vegas, but tending to his Team USA duties.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was also seated beside Krzyzweski for much of the evening and he, of course, serves as an assistant.  It’s worth noting that Krzyzewski has called him a co-head coach out of respect for his long time friend.

It didn’t take long for the crowd to notice the gathering of Dukies, for many could be seen snapping pictures of Coach K, and some even trying to breach the lines between the coaches, media and fans to get a closer glimpse.

Fans also were aware of JJ Redick’s presence and many of the young ballers were sneaking over to get a look.  Heck, even the coaches were stretching their necks, many likely marveling that when the Devils turn out they do it in style.

Jason Williams gave kids a talk they'd remember - copyright BDN Photo
Jason Williams gave kids a talk they'd remember - copyright BDN Photo

BDN was on the scene all day long and we’ll bring you more coverage in our premium subscription section.  In fact, we will have reports and interviews from Las Vegas and Orlando well into the following week.

Join Blue Devil Nation today to get live reports all week long from Orlando.  We bring you up close and personal to the best basketball program in the land with unmatched recruiting coverage.  Interviews from this event and Las Vegas will be coming shortly.