Former Duke Blue Devils legend Grant Hill entered the NBA after being drafted 3rd overall in the 1994 NBA Draft.
Grant Hill never won an NBA title but he was a 2-time NCAA National Champion and won a Gold Medal for Team USA at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. That 1996 Team USA roster was STACKED with Charles Barkley, Penny Hardaway, David Robinson, Gary Payton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq, Scottie Pippen, and others.
Noticeably absent from the 1996 Olympics roster was Michael Jordan, whom this story below revolves around.
Grant Hill was recently a guest on the Knuckleheads podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. He talked about the thrill of dominating MJ in a pickup basketball game and how it all came crashing down the next day.
Grant Hill’s story about Michael Jordan comes at the 53:21 mark in the podcast below if you want to listen, or read on for the quotes.
Grant Hill says he was “in LA in the Summer of ’95 after (his) rookie year’ and he was out there taping Living Single.
At this time, Michael Jordan was filming Space Jam and Warner Bros. had built him ‘this dome’ on the lot so he could play basketball and stay in shape while filming. It led to some legendary pickup games and stories about those games.
Grant says he found out Michael Jordan and others were playing pickup ball so he went over there. Hill says he had his ‘Grant Hill 2’ sneakers ‘with the patent leather’. And Michael Jordan had his Space Jam 11s (retro 11s) ‘with the patent leather’.
Grant joked that at the time he was thinking “this dude is stealing my patent leather.” But they weren’t even in the stores yet so ‘stealing’ them was impossible. To the game, though…
Grant Hill says “Now that first day… Man, when I tell you I gave him the business, I was killing Mike. I was literally… My jumper… I didn’t shoot the ball well but… ”
“My jumper was hitting, I’m crossing him up, I’m going at him. To the point like, I’m done and I get on the phone to to call my boys like ‘yo, I’m killing Mike’ and all of that.”
Everything changed overnight. Grant went back for more and Jordan crushed him.
Hill says “Then I came back the next day… Oh my god. I should have just quit while I was ahead, man. And I don’t know if I was really killing him like I felt like I was doing but in my mind, I was killing him.”
“But man, the next day. All of that. The footwork. The posts. Guarding me. Not letting me get anywhere. It was a whole different person.”
Grant Hill added “But I had that one moment.”