Grant Hill Retires After 19 NBA Seasons

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 1, 2013

Grant Hill officially announced his retirement Saturday night on the set of TNT's Inside the NBA prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Los Angeles Clippers, with whom Hill played sparingly during the 2012-13 season, also released a statement on Saturday that the veteran small forward will retire after 19 seasons in the league.

In the team's statement, vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks praised Hill's professionalism and his contributions to the franchise:

The entire Clippers organization wants to congratulate Grant on an incredible career. For 19 years, Grant has always been the embodiment of class, a true professional and not only one of the best players, but one of the finest individuals I have been around. We were fortunate to have Grant with us last season, and we wish him all the best in his next endeavor.

The 40-year-old Hill was a seven-time All-Star, despite frequently being plagued by injuries, and he began his career with the Detroit Pistons as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post linked to a video showing how sensational Hill was prior to the setbacks that stymied his promising career:

Hill also played for the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns thereafter. In Orlando, he played a mere 47 games in his first three seasons, but he was effective when healthy. Long-term ankle problems, which USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt alludes to, essentially prevented Hill from reaching his full potential.

When Hill went to the Suns to start the 2007-08 campaign, though, he experienced somewhat of a resurgence. After appearing in 70 games that first year, he played at least 80 games in three consecutive seasons.

Admiration is rampant in light of Hill’s retirement. Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and ESPN’s Marc Stein are among those who are expressing their immense respect for the great, all-around player:

Though he only appeared in 29 games for the Clippers and saw just 15.1 minutes of action per game, Hill finished his career with averages of 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals.