Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Co-Rookie of the Year: Grant Hill & Jason Kidd Both Drafted/Retire From NBA on the Same Year

Grant Hill, the 1995 Rookie of the Year, seven-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection has called it a career after 19 seasons. Now take a look back at his illustrious career with these BIG highlights!

Grant Hill & Jason Kidd 

Jason Kidd, Grant Hill Linked by More Than Retirement
by Erik C. Anderson

Grant Hill just can't get away from Jason Kidd — this time, in retirement.

Kidd retired Monday, two days after Hill, to again connect the former NBA All-Stars. The 40-year-olds were picked second and third in the 1994 NBA draft and shared the 1994-95 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

"Former Co-rookies of the year retire in the same year, that's awesome! Hats off to two amazing players. On and off the hardwood," Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler tweeted.

Jason Kidd, left, and Grant Hill hold their trophies as co-winners of the
NBA Rookie of the Year for the 1994-95 season,
at NBA headquarters in New York.

From that point, Kidd and Hill's career arcs seemed intertwined. Both players dominated at their positions and were consistent threats to record triple-doubles. (Kidd recorded the third-most triple-doubles in NBA history with 107.) Later in their careers, both players transitioned from franchise cornerstones to role players with no drama.

The major difference between the two players was Hill's ankle problems. Kidd was able to stack up a lengthy resume, ending his career second all-time — behind John Stockton — in the NBA with 12,091 assists and 2,684 steals. But Hill missed 484 games in his career, including an entire season, while Kidd missed 119.

Kidd & Hill entered the NBA together in 1994,
were both co-Rookie of the Year in 1994,
both retire the same year in 2013. 

Kidd and Hill each played for four franchises — Kidd with the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks and Hill with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. And both veterans left money on the table with their retirements: Kidd had two years left in a three-year, $9 million deal with the Knicks, while Hill had another year left of his deal with the Clippers that paid him around $2 million.

While Hill never reached the NBA Finals, his fellow retiree won one and played in three. Both won Olympic gold medals, Hill in 1996 and Kidd in 2000 and 2008.

And they both rocked the NCAA tournament, too. Kidd's California Golden Bears upset Hill's Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the 1993 tournament, but Hill was coming off consecutive NCAA championships in 1991 and 1992.

Both accomplished a lot over 19 seasons. Kidd was asked about his favorites.

"The two things that are probably tied for first are winning a championship with the Mavericks and also being able to win a gold medal — two gold medals with Team USA," Kidd told ESPN New York. "And then underneath that will probably be sharing rookie of the year with Grant."

Celebrate Jason Kidd's 40th birthday with a look back at highlights from his rookie year.

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