NBA players would be wise to learn historic lessons from vets like Grant Hill

It’s hard to imagine a player in the NBA who is more respected than Phoenix forward Grant Hill.

After battling back from a series of injuries earlier in his career, Hill is now the second-oldest player in the league at 39.

Hill learned much during the 1998 lockout, when the league shaved its schedule from 82 to 50 game in a similar lockout. The stoppage in play cost Hill much of the $6.6 million he was supposed to make that season.

Despite that financial duress, Hill told about that lockout.

“It’s always worth it. I think you learn a lot,” Hill said. “I think it’s worth it. I think the game recovered. The game is in great shape now.”

Hill is concerned about what another impact an extended layoff  would have on him.

“It’s tough, especially for an older guy,” Hill said. “You got certain benchmarks you try to reach in the offseason to get ready for training camp. You could do too much or do too little just in terms of staying in shape, staying sharp.”

Hill isn’t taking an active role in these labor negotiations. But it would be very smart of the younger players to lean heavily on the wisdom of older players like Hill and Tim Duncan who lived through the earlier lockout.

“It’s not an easy thing. I’m confident with our leadership and our guys who are at the table,” Hill told Yahoo. “From what I hear there has been some really healthy conversations and dialogue. We just have to continue that.

“At least we have the luxury of having it before and learning from it as players and also as a Players Association. I think this time around guys are better prepared. It was kind of crazy last time. It might get crazy here now.”

Here is a list of the players who played in the NBA during the 2010-11 season who were around for the 1998 lockout.

  • Boston G Ray Allen
  • Philadelphia C Tony Battie
  • Miami G Mike Bibby
  • New York G Chauncey Billups
  • Milwauke G Earl Boykins
  • Los Angeles Lakers G Kobe Bryant
  • Phoenix G Vince Carter
  • Portland C Marcus Camby
  • Miami C Erick Dampier
  • Philadelphia G Antonio Daniels
  • San Antonio F-C  Tim Duncan
  • Los Angeles Lakers G Derek Fisher
  • Boston F Kevin Garnett
  • Denver F Al Harrington
  • Phoenix F Grant Hill 
  • Miami F Juwan Howard
  • Miami C Zydrunas  Ilgauskas
  • Cleveland F Antawn Jamison
  • Dallas G Jason Kidd
  • Washington F Rashard Lewis
  • Portland C Sean Marks
  • San Antonio F-C Antonio McDyess 
  • Detroit F-G Tracy McGrady
  • Houston C Brad Miller
  • Oklahoma City C Nazr Mohammed
  • Phoenix G Steve Nash
  • Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki
  • Boston F Jermaine O’Neal
  • Boston C Shaquille O’Neal
  • Cleveland G Anthony Parker
  • Boston F Paul Pierce
  • Los Angeles Lakers C-F Theo Ratliff
  • Milwaukee F Brian Skinner
  • Los Angeles Lakers F Joe Smith 
  • Miami G Jerry Stackhouse
  • Dallas F Peja Stojakovic
  • Chicago F Kurt Thomas
  • Detroit F Ben Wallace
  • Memphis G Jason Williams

These players were around for the nastiness of the last strike. The younger  players would be wise to seek their counsel.

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