Grant Hill was beloved by coaches and teammates alike while he was at Duke. Credit: AP
Bobby Hurley remembers playing pick-up games with Grant Hill while they were in the midst of winning back-to-back titles at Duke. Hill was a popular pick, Hurley said, because his presence greatly increased the odds that a team would hold the court.
Those games occurred more than 20 years ago, in the early 1990s. Hurley is about to begin his first season as Buffalo’s head coach, 15 years removed from his last professional game. Hill just retired a few weeks ago.
“The way my body feels on a day-in and day-out basis, I can’t believe that he was still playing at that level,” Hurley said. “It brought me back to the times that we played together, so I guess is was kind of living through him, to a degree, watching him play and rejuvenate his career.”
Hill was valued in those pickup games, and throughout his 18-year NBA career, for more than just his on-court skills1. His positive energy was contagious, and, even as a teenager, people gravitated toward him