Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Hour 04/24: Grant Hill Can't Have It Both Ways

At Detroit Bad Boys, Matt Watson has a response to Grant Hill's recent lamentations over playing on what turned out to be a broken ankle at the end of his days with the Pistons. Even if Hill is trying to lay blame elsewhere or revise history, I'm kind of glad he's bringing this subject up, because it's something I've always wondered about.

If Hill had to do it all over again, would he decide not to play on that ankle (even if it meant Detroit fans probably would've questioned his toughness)? Of course, it's not like the injury cost him financially, as Mike Bianchi points out in the Orlando Sentinel column that started this discussion.

It's natural to revisit this situation, I suppose, especially with Hill now facing his former team in a playoff series. But Hill's implied accusations come off as a little phony - and I think that's an issue many Detroit fans had with Hill, much as New York fans currently have with Alex Rodriguez - when it seems rather clear that playing with the injury and opting for surgery were his decision, and a situation over which he held all the control.

Such remarks seem almost silly when you consider - as Matt also pointed out at the AOL Fanhouse last month - that Arnie Kander, the Pistons' strength and conditioning coach, has worked wonders in rehabilitating Antonio McDyess and Chris Webber, whose injuries never seemed to heal with other teams. (The New York Times also cited Kander's value in keeping the team healthy last year.)

Regardless of whether or not you thought he was being entirely sincere at the time, I think Hill left Detroit in as classy a manner as he could. He didn't have to talk to local columnists or appear on sports talk radio shows to answer questions from hosts and fans, but he did - and not many athletes do that on their way out of town.

Maybe it was another example of Hill trying to get everyone to like him (though I think that's being a tad cynical), but at least he made an effort to keep things cool with the fans here. That's the Grant Hill I like to remember. And I really hope he doesn't say anything to change that perception as his career winds down toward its end.

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