Suns star Grant Hill talks about the differences between the 1996 free agency class and the 2010 class and the difference in labor situations of 1998 and 2011.
Posted by Matt Moore
Grant Hill has been around and has seen a lot. That's what comes with 15 years of NBA experience. Part of that experience comes from his time dealing with the '96 free agency class, which featured Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, and for about 45 seconds, Michael Jordan. Two years after that class, the NBA entered a lockout, in part due to the kinds of contracts that were signed in '96.
He's also seen 2010, and the formation of the Miami Triad/Heatles/Whatever-cute-nicknam
e-you-want-to-use, Rudy Gay's $80 million bonanza, and Amar'e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer also getting massive deals. And in six months, that group of free agents will also likely face a lockout.
As part of Ken Berger's interview with Hill in this week's installment of "In the Moment," Berger spoke with Hill about the comparisons between the two free agent classes and the differences between that labor dispute, and this one.
"I remember back in 96, there was a lot of player movement, a lot of big contracts signed this summer. You didn't really get what happened this summer with LeBron, and DWade and those guys where it was like "Let's put together is kind of 'Dream Team' so to speak or something that may appear predetermined. I think the contracts at that point were getting high and it ended up becoming a concern that they would continue to escalate."
Hill also talks about the differences between the two and it's important to note that Hill takes a conciliatory line in the dispute, giving the owners reason to object to the current situation while maintaining the union's position that the current system works. It's a level-headed, reasonable position, the kind that's needed in order to avoid a lockout, the kind the owners have had no interest in adapting, instead blasting their boomboxes of recalcitrant objection to the current situation and threatening at every turn. The situation needs leaders like Hill, and we can only help that both sides will follow his lead.
It's also readily apparent that when his playing days are over, if they ever are, there should be a bidding war over Hill's services for television studio or announce work. Not because of his considerable star power and name recognition, but simply because it's more than evident that Hill will provide a stirring personality on screen for both analysis and personality.
You'll see more of that personality on Friday when Ken Berger's full interview with Grant Hill is posted exclusively on CBSSports.com.