A barbershop debate lingers as what if: a healthy and prime Grant Hill was to compete against Kobe Bryant during the early 2000s. We didn’t see that happen due to Hill’s multiple ankle surgeries and it was only until Grant Hill was able to compete against a ripened Kobe Bryant during his late 30s.
Known as the LeBron James of his time, Hill was posting near triple double feats every night and he stated that among everyone that he guarded in his NBA career, Bryant was by-far – the toughest.
“In Phoenix, why the hell I was guarding him at 36, 37, I don’t know,” Hill told Sporting News as reported by LakersNation.com
“It was one of those things where, of all the guys I had to guard at that time, he was by far the toughest.”
Still, Hill who competed mostly in the 90s against the likes of Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and Reggie Miller – had a good look at an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant who was playing his All-Star game and fearlessly went toe-to-toe against his Eastern Conference teammate, Michael Jordan.
“Certain guys, even All-Stars, you can guard and you have a game plan […] But with Kobe, he was so good, you could throw all the analytics out the window, you could forget trying to play against his tendencies and all of that. Because you could do everything right. You could be on him, you could guess right on what he was going to do, you could time it perfectly, everything. And you turn around, and the ball goes in. And you go, ‘Well, OK.’ ”
Hill retired at the age of 40-years-old and playing his last NBA game with the Clippers. He was more well known to be the face of the Detroit Pistons during the mid-90s where he played his first six seasons and witnessed a young Kobe Bryant mature to the player he is today.