Jun 5 2013 12:31PM

The Hall-of-Fame Journey, Man


Tom Heitman/NBAE/Getty Images

Jason Kidd and Grant Hill are Hall-of-Fame journeymen, and I say that with the utmost respect to both.

They are both Hall-of-Famers who went on a heckuva NBA journey and can proudly say they hung with the best, man.

Both were five-star traveling men who never truly had a home.

Do you associate Hill as the GQ kid who was sent to Planet Earth via Detroit to save the NBA or the maxed-out injury disappointment in Orlando who never quit and magically came back an All-Star or the miraculous healer who extended his days in the sun at Phoenix before capping his career in 2012-13 as a Los Angeles Clipper?

How about Kidd?

Is he the pass-first, shoot-never point-guard prodigy who had his own Big 3 with Dallas in the '90s or part of the three-PG offense in Phoenix later that decade or the new-millennium quarterback behind East power New Jersey or the three-point-shooting point guard who returned to lead Dallas to its first NBA championship or the ancient sage who helped take New York to the second-best record in the East before he ran out of buckets?

They were both just two talented kids who climbed many hills to get where they are today.

Yet both had a home in the hearts of NBA fans all over America.

Hill was the beloved All-American out of Duke, only hated by Tar Heels. Had the life of a Cosby kid and once grabbed a GQ cover that asked the question, "Can Grant Hill Save Sports?"

Kidd was the ultimate teammate and consummate leader. He topped several NBA player polls that asked the question, Which NBA player would you most like to play with? With his chess-like court-reading skills and precision passing, Kidd always made NBA teammates look good.

They were two of the four oldest NBA players in the game today, with ex-Knick Kurt Thomas and current Heat Juwan Howard being the only other two 40 year olds who played in the 2012-13 season.

Based on their NBA body-of-work since their co-Rookie of the Year seasons in 1994-95, both will likely get the Hall-of-Fame nod.

Basketball-Reference's Hall-of-Fame projection model has six-time All-NBA guard Kidd as a 95 percent chance of making the Hall, based on his NBA career stats and accomplishments, such as ranking Top 3 all-time in assists (second), three-pointers (third) and minutes played (third).

The five-time All-NBA forward Hill does not rank nearly as well as Kidd in all-time statistics, garnering a 36 percent score at Basketball-Reference, but the projection tool does not take in three intangibles that should work in Hill's favor: He was one of the greatest college basketball players ever as a four-year star and two-time consensus All-American at Duke, winning the NCAA championship twice and reaching the NCAA Finals three times and he won an Olympic gold medal with the 1996 USA Basketball team.

So again, it is with the best intentions when I call these men Hall-of-Fame journeymen.

I would not be surprised to see several of their NBA jerseys being retired in many different NBA homes.