Both Grant Hill and Jason Kidd have announced their retirements from the NBA bringing to an end the careers of two players from the same era with personalities and styles at complete odds.
Hill played in the league for 18 seasons—the first 5 or 6 of which were phenomenal. After a dominate college career at Duke, Hill entered the league and impacted his team right way. Hill could do it all: shoot the jumper, drive to the basket, take guys off the dribble, and pass well. He looked poised to have a long career at the top of the NBA food chain.
But in his prime while playing with the Detroit Pistons, Hill broke his ankle and came back too fast, causing him to break the same ankle just a month later. Despite intensive rehab and a strong dedication to return to his previous form, Hill was never the same player. Still, he was a solid contributor for many years after that and remained a respectable role player until the end. His contribution to the league and his reputation as one of the good guys won't soon be forgotten.
Kidd's 19-year career played out much differently. Kidd helped usher in some of the faster offenses we see in the league today by pushing the ball hard, rebounding, playing the lanes and running offense in the truest sense of the word. Kidd was savvy when it came to figuring out opposing teams and played just hard on defense making the All-Defensive First Team 4 different times and the Second Team 5 times. When his all-around game began to fail, Kidd smartly altered his style and perfected his jump shot to remain viable. Off the court, Kidd made notable mistakes—including a domestic violence charge for striking first wife. And last year he had a single car accident after driving drunk in an incident that somehow flew under the radar.
It's always sobering when guys who were top players during my youth retire, but 18 and 19 years in the league is truly an accomplishment. Congratulations to both men on their illustrious careers and contributions to the league. I expect Hill to immediately pursue broadcasting. Kidd may find himself on the tube as well.
Last night marked the end of an exciting series between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. Miami dominated the entire contest winning game 7 by 23 points (99-76). This was one of the best conference finals series I've seen and I feel compelled to thank Lebron James, Chris Anderson, Roy Hibbert and Paul George especially for providing a level of excitement I didn't expect. Watching James go all superhuman is always a treat and so is the Pacers brand of aggressive team ball. The Heat will now move on to face a very well-rested and well-coached San Antonio Spurs team.
In other basketball news, the flop-watching continues. I use flop-watch to refer to this new-fangled phenomenon where every single time any player falls to the ground fans, sports writers and even in-game commentators immediately discuss whether it's a flop or not. Last week, the league fined James and Indiana Pacers' David West, and Lance Stephenson $5,000 each for flopping during game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. I proceeded to write about how I don't care if players flop or not as flopping is just one kind of "acting" for the refs and certainly nothing new. Grantland wrote a great piece on flopping throughout history that further supported my apathy. I am hopeful that next year flop-watching will come to an end and folks can focus on something else. It's corny, guys. Let it go.
I'll leave you with a quick update on Jay-Z's Roc Nation sports venture. The NFL Player's Association is currently looking into whether Roc Nation violated any rules in their signing of Geno Smith. Smith statements to the press and reportedly to private friends have been conflicting leading many to believe that Roc Nation violated “runner rules” by letting Jay-Z, who is not a certified agent, recruit Smith. In related news, Philadelphia Eagles' star receiver Desean Jackson has fired superstar agent Drew Rosenhaus and is reportedly interested in being rep'd by Roc Nation.
This wraps up this week's Sports Notes...did we miss anything?
Jessica Danielle is a professional speechwriter and blogger who covers sports with wit and ardor at PlayerPerspective.com.