Grant Hill says LeBron James, Cade Cunningham remind him of himself

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Grant Hill sees LeBron, Cunningham as comps originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Grant Hill played 18 seasons in the NBA, all the way until the age of 40, so most may better remember the player he was at the latter stages of his career. But if you put on highlights of his younger days, before injuries slowed him down, you will be reminded he was a uniquely gifted athlete in his prime.

Even in this day and age with big men who play like guards, Hill's combination of size, speed and athleticism would stand out. He was 6-foot-8 with a split-second crossover and the ability to dunk on anyone.

Because he was such a distinctive player, it's a bit of a challenge to find a perfect contemporary comparison. So, NBC Sports Washington asked Hill that question himself during a recent interview with the 2018 inductee of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Hill offered two comparisons, starting with a four-time MVP.

"I know this may sound incredibly arrogant to say, but LeBron [James]. I mean, obviously, he's a bigger guy who's more powerful, but he's a guy 6'8" who handles the ball, who is a pass-first kind of guy, who I think tries to use his intellect to really outthink the opponent, but also has some great physical gifts as well," Hill told NBC Sports Washington.

"And then a guy who just fills up the stat sheet. I mean, he's somebody at least in terms of the approach to the game, I don't think LeBron approaches a game like, 'I'm going to beat you.' I think he tries to be inclusive and say, 'okay, we're going to beat you, how can we beat you?'"

Hill made sure to note it was somewhat of a lofty comparison. There are few players in NBA history who can stack up to James' list of accomplishments.

Hill, though, was a decorated player himself with five All-NBA nods and seven All-Star selections. The comparison, though, is more about their style of play and Hill had similar mobility and versatility to James, while also standing 6-foot-8.

The second comparison Hill gave is someone who plays for his former team, the Detroit Pistons.

"I think there’s a lot more guys today that are tall, 6'8" who can handle the ball, who could do a lot of different things out there on the floor. Cade Cunningham, who's just had a great rookie year - and I hear a lot of comparisons - he’s someone who plays a complete game and that's something that I tried to do back many years ago, when I played," Hill said.

Cunningham and Hill have been commonly compared because of their size and dribbling ability. Hill was more of a powerful finisher at the rim, while Cunningham has traditionally been a better shooter, going back to his college days. That said, Cunningham's 31.4% from 3-point range so far is the exact same as Hill's was for his NBA career.

Cunningham is essentially the point guard for Detroit, while Grant played more on the wing. But Grant was a gifted passer, just like Cunningham. Hill averaged 6.3 assists per game through the first seven years of his career, including 7.3 assists per game in 1996-97.

We know James will be in the Hall of Fame someday, just like Hill. Maybe Cunningham will end up joining them when his career is over.