I still feel like I was robbed back in 1995. I tell Jason that all the time and I think he feels like he was robbed. —Grant Hill
CHICAGO — Grant Hill was pretty low-key when he arrived at Quest Multisport Complex in Chicago on Thursday.
He mingled, observed and networked with old friends during the NBA Draft Combine.
More than two decades have passed since the former Detroit Pistons star was turning heads in Motown. Those days are now long gone as the 45-year-old has converted over to the media side where he hosts NBA TV’s "Inside Stuff."
However, even 23 years to the exact date (May 17, 1995) of sharing NBA Co-Rookie of the Year honors with Jason Kidd, the anniversary of that moment is something he’ll never forget.
“I still feel like I was robbed back in 1995,” Hill said, smiling. “I tell Jason that all the time and I think he feels like he was robbed.”
On Wednesday, the NBA officially revealed Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Boston Jayson Tatum as the three finalists for the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. Winners will be announced during the second annual NBA Awards on June 25 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, but the ROY is clearly a two-man race with Mitchell and Simmons for those who have been following closely.
Witnessing this year’s rookie race is all too familiar for Hill. Since the trophy was first instituted in 1952-53, he and Kidd are one of three joint winners in league history along with Geoff Petrie and Dave Cowens in 1970-71 and Elton Brand and Steven Francis in 1999-2000.
“I just think the coverage is greater. Obviously, when we came out it was before the internet but it’s great to see these two talented guys, I’ll throw Tatum in there as well,” Hill said. “He maybe didn’t have the regular season that they had and maybe not relied upon as much but it’s fun to see these young guys stepping up to lead their teams and just showing what the future is in store for their franchises, for them and for the NBA in general.”
The careers of Hill and Kidd have been forever linked through that trophy.
Not only were they draft classmates, they also retired from the league two days apart in 2013 and are both among the 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class. Hill feels the Co-Rookie of the Year split with Mitchell and Simmons would be great, but with the way the voting is set up makes it unlikely. He’s just as excited to see how things will play out as much as the rest of the world.
“Either way, if you had it where it was a co-situation, I don’t think anyone would argue with that,” Hill said. “If you pick one over the other, I think you could make an argument, a strong case here or there. I look at Jason and I, we’re kind of forever linked because of that. It’s not a bad association to have.”