Grant Hill is the second-oldest player in the NBA. But despite his advancing age, he’s still impressing opponents with his basketball skills.
Hill asked Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry Friday night if he could come off the bench and he responsed with some key defense down the stretch to help the Suns notch a key victory over Houston to bolster their playoff hopes.
Several Spurs said they they are enthralled by Hill’s resiliency. Hill is a day younger than Kurt Thomas of Portland, the league’s oldest player.
“You’ve got some guys who are playing and older. But they are playing at a different rate,” Spurs forward Boris Diaw said. “Grant Hill is always full speed and running up and down leading a lot of fast breaks. It’s amazing the way he’s playing.”
Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said he would like to emulate Hill in how he approaches his craft.
“That’s a credit to him to show how he prepares, how he takes care of his body,” Jackson said. “It’s somebody I definitely look up to. I’m happy for him because he’s a role model to a lot of guys.”
Hill has given indications he would like to return again next season with hopes of becoming the first 40-or-above NBA player since Dikembe Mutombo played when he was 42 with Houston in 2009.
Jackson, who turned 34 on April 5, said he hopes to have an extended career by Hill before he retires.
“I’ve been blessed, thank God, not to have any serious injuries. No surgeries,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, I can play that long. As long as the game is loving me, I’m going to love it back.”
Oldest players in NBA
Kurt Thomas, Portland Oct. 4, 1972
Grant Hill, Phoenix Oct. 5, 1972
Juwan Howard, Miami Feb. 7, 1973
Jason Kidd, Dallas March 23, 1973
Steve Nash, Phoenix Feb. 7, 1974
Marcus Camby, Houston March 22, 1974
Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Aug. 9, 1974
Ben Wallace, Detroit Sept. 10, 1974
Jerry Stackhouse, Atlanta Nov. 5, 1974
Anthony Carter, Toronto June 16, 1975
Anthony Parker, Cleveland June 19, 1975
Mike James, Chicago June 23, 1975
Erick Dampier, Atlanta July 14, 1975
Ray Allen, Boston July 20, 1975
Tony Battie, Philadelphia Feb. 11, 1976
Francisco Elson, Philadelphia Feb. 28, 1976
Brad Miller, Minnesota Apr. 12, 1976
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Apr. 25, 1976
Kevin Garnett, Boston May 19, 1976
Andre Miller, Denver May 19, 1976
Earl Boykins, Houston June 2, 1976
Antawn Jamison, Cleveland June 12, 1976
Eduard Najera, Charlotte July 11, 1976
Raja Bell, Utah Sept. 19, 1976
Chauncey Billups, L.A. Clippers Sept. 25, 1976
Vince Carter, Dallas Jan. 26, 1977
Brian Cardinal, Dallas May 2, 1977
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio July 28, 1977
Nazr Mohammed, Oklahoma City Sept. 5, 1977
Jason Terry, Dallas Sept. 15, 1977
Paul Pierce, Boston Oct. 13, 1977
Kenyon Martin, L.A. Clippers Dec. 30, 1977