Despite not reaching his full potential because of injuries, Grant Hill had a successful and long NBA career in which he played against some of the best stars from the ’90s and ’00s. In a recent interview, he names his two toughest opponents in different stages of his career which were none other than Scottie Pippen and Kobe Bryant.
When Grant Hill came into the NBA, everyone thought he is the next Michael Jordan despite playing at a small forward position. At an early stage of his career, he admired Scottie Pippen and during those years they had a lot of mutual respect for each other and Hill said he was able to learn a thing or two playing against him so many times.
“Early on it was Scottie Pippen. Pippen was a small forward, he was older than me, he was kind of a big brother of sorts. I got to meet him a few times, play with him in the 96 Olympics. He was the barometer and I was fortunate to have some really good moments against Scottie at the time and also not have some good moments but that’s what happens when you play against great players.”
After a series of injuries that robbed Grant Hill from a HOF career, he was able to transform himself into a solid role player especially for the Phoenix Suns that were competing for a championship several years in a row. Suns had to play against Los Angeles Lakers several times which meant squaring off against Kobe Bryant and it was Hill who often had the task to guard Bryant who was in his absolute prime.
“Later on I was in a different role and I was going against these great players that were younger than me and I had a challenge of trying to stop them. One of the guys I enjoyed competing against was Kobe Bryant and you don’t really enjoy going against Kobe Bryant. It was nice to say to myself, I’m 37,38, I have one ankle and they’re making me guard Kobe Bryant, you know it’s not fair. I really respected him because he was relentless and he was coming every time at you. He could go right, he could go left, over each shoulder. He was a mental and physical challenge and that is what you appreciate.”