Despite being halted by injury, Grant Hill gave the Orlando Magic hope when he teamed up with then-NBA rising Tracy McGrady in 2000. Hill played only four games in his maiden season with the Magic, but Orlando had high hopes that the addition of the All-Star player would help them accomplish something.
Grant gave way to the youngster
Heading into the 2001-02 season, the Magic were oozing with optimism as the organization was ready to bank on McGrady. At the time, T-Mac was coming off his first career-best in scoring, finishing the 2000-01 season with 26.8 points per game.
On the other hand, Hill, who had been dealing with an ankle injury, knew that he would have a reduced role when he got healthy. And he made it very clear that he had no issues with McGrady being the focal point. For Hill, taking a step back for a soaring star wasn’t a problem as long as the team was united in terms of competing for a shot at an NBA title.
“My role will be different, and I welcome that,” Hill said in 2001 via Sports Illustrated’s Vault. “I’ll give up scoring 30 [points] a night to have a chance at a championship, and I think we’re going in that direction.”
Sadly, the promising Magic squad failed to become the team they wanted to be. As excellent a scorer as McGrady was, Hill’s prolonged absence due to injury took a toll on Orlando.
From 2001 to 2004, Hill only played a total of 43 games for the Magic. And even though he managed to bounce back and play 67 games in 2004-05, he wasn’t able to help his team win games.
Shawn Kemp was another All-Star player who joined the Magic in 2002, hoping to make a championship run in his twilight years in the league. Though Kemp only played in Orlando for one season, he felt frustrated because they did everything to win, and they could’ve done it had Hill been healthier.
“We could’ve done well,” Kemp said of his time with the Magic. “If Grant could’ve stayed healthy, we would’ve been a pretty good team.”
In 2007, after inconsistently securing a spot in the playoffs, the Magic pulled the plug on Hill, who later signed with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent.
As for McGrady, he already left Orlando for the Houston Rockets right before Hill got healthy in 2004. However, T-Mac was also faced with the same dilemma as his then-co-star Yao Ming dealt with serious injuries too. It just wasn't meant to be.