Grant Hill helped the United States win Olympic gold in 1996. He would have been on the team again in 2000 if it weren’t for injury. And he was one of the college boys who defeated the first “Dream Team” in a fight before the 1992 Olympics.
Now USA Basketball is bringing it back.
Hill will become the managing director of the men’s national team after the Tokyo Olympics, USA Basketball said on Saturday. He will replace retired Jerry Colangelo, in a move in which one member of the Basketball Hall of Fame replaces another in the pivotal role of assembling teams to compete for gold.
“It’s an incredible opportunity, also an incredible challenge,” Hill said Saturday. “I was lucky enough to participate in international games – the Pan American Games, of course, the Olympic team – and I have been a fan of the United States team since the 1984 Olympic team when I started to fall in love with basketball. The more I thought about it, the more Intrigued, excited and more than willing I was to roll up my sleeves and carry on with this incredible responsibility. “
Hill’s resume is elite. He played 19 NBA seasons, was an All-Star seven times, which probably would have been more if not for the ankle problems that derailed his career, and made five All-NBA teams. At Duke, he helped the Blue Devils win national championships in 1991 and 1992.
Hill was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 and has worked as an NBA and college basketball analyst for Turner Sports for nearly a decade. And he’s part of the men’s Final Four broadcast team this weekend in Indianapolis, the sixth year in a row he’s been on that team.
He will remain on the broadcast after assuming his position at USA Basketball.
“Grant is a proven leader of importance and character who will continue to help us achieve our twin goals of winning international competitions and representing our country with honor,” said Martin Dempsey, USA Basketball chairman and retired general. “In making this announcement, I also want to emphasize how much everyone associated with USA Basketball appreciates Jerry Colangelo for all that he has done for USA Basketball over the past 15 years.”
And Colangelo did a lot.
The managing director position was created for him in 2005, after the Americans lost three games at the 2004 Athens Olympics and came back with an extremely disappointing bronze medal. Since then, Colangelo has overseen the player and coach selection process, bringing in Mike Krzyzewski from Duke, who led the U.S. to the Olympic golds in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and now Gregg Popovich from San Antonio to serve. as head coaches.
In major competitions with Colangelo as CEO, American men have been 97-4. Colangelo’s departure was not unexpected; The 80-year-old made no secret of his plans to retire after the Tokyo Games, which were delayed for a year until this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I plan to spend an incredible amount of time with Jerry, follow him a bit this summer, and I think that experience will certainly help as we move forward,” Hill said. “He’s an invaluable resource and he’s done an extraordinary job, so he can’t help but learn from someone like Jerry.”
Whatever happens in Tokyo, Hill will take over in a hectic moment. The delay of these Olympics compresses everything; the next Basketball World Cup is only two years away, and the Paris Games are only three years away.
Hill knows that the rest of the world is catching up, or has caught up with USA Basketball. He predicted that would happen in 1996, when he was part of Dream Team II that won gold in Atlanta, and he is not alone in believing that the game found a new team internationally due to the success of the first Dream Team Four. years before that.
Hill was a 19-year-old college sophomore when he was signed along with Bobby Hurley, Chris Webber and others to play for Team USA that included Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing and more. The college boys won 62-54 in that first fight; There has been a huge debate since then about whether American coach Chuck Daly pitched the game to make it clear that neither team was invincible, but there is no debate about how that day in California helped the NBA stars come together.
“We had a good time,” Hill said. “That experience, having the opportunity to practice, learn and spend time with possibly the best team ever assembled, was not a formal event with a medal ceremony and the like, but it certainly was a crucial moment for me and my development. and my growth as a player. “
Hill’s job that day was to beat the best in USA Basketball. Your job in the future will be to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You are already beginning to plan.
“The brain is working,” Hill said.