Ex-Duke star Grant Hill retires from NBA after 19 seasons

Associated PressJune 2, 2013 

— Seven-time All-Star Grant Hill retired from the NBA on Saturday after 19 seasons, ending a career interrupted by injuries that included an Olympic gold medal.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced the news, which came as no surprise since Hill, a former Duke star, had been mulling his future after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. He had one season left on his contract.

At Duke, he helped the Blue Devils to consecutive national championships in 1991 and ‘92. He won a gold medal on the U.S. basketball team at the 1996 Atlanta Games. He was named to the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, but didn’t play because of injury.

“I’ve been hinting at (retirement) for the last few years and 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 said while appearing on TNT’s pregame show before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday.

Hill appeared in just 29 games last season, his first with the Clippers, but he lent a valuable veteran presence.

Gary Sacks, the team’s vice president of basketball operations, called Hill “the embodiment of class, a true professional.”

Hill, a 40-year-old forward, averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals during a career that included stints with the Clippers, Detroit, Orlando and Phoenix.

“I’m certainly proud of what I’ve been able to do,” he said after the Clippers lost to Memphis last month.

Hill struggled with injuries, particularly his troublesome left ankle.

After leaving Detroit prior to the 2000-01 season, he spent seven seasons with the Orlando Magic in which he was limited to just 200 games due to injuries to the ankle.

Before joining the Clippers, Hill spent five seasons with Phoenix. In 2010-11, he became the seventh player in NBA history to average 13 or more points at the age of 38 or older.

During the 2011-12 season with Phoenix, Hill had a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. He missed 61 games because of a sports hernia during the 2005-06 season with Orlando. He missed the entire 2003-04 season with the Magic while rehabbing his left ankle after having surgery on it the previous season.

In 2000-01, he had season-ending surgery to repair a broken bone in his left ankle.

Hill was named to the All-NBA first team in 1997. He was a three-time winner of the league’s sportsmanship award.

After a standout four-year career at Duke, Hill was drafted third overall by Detroit in 1994. He and Jason Kidd of Dallas shared Rookie of the Year honors. Hill was named to the all-rookie first team that year and became the first rookie to lead the league in All-Star fan balloting.

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