There's been a slew of legendary names retiring from the NBA this offseason, including two players who were expected to team up to become an unstoppable duo in Orlando – Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. Of course injuries derailed those plans, not to mention derailing the sure-fire Hall of Fame careers of Hill and T-Mac. Now, with their careers in the rearview, we can ask the question, "Who had the better career?"
The answer to that, like the answer to the question of whether or not they get into the Hall of Fame, is a toss-up. At the peak of their powers, both men were among the greatest players in the NBA (five All-NBA selections for Hill; seven for McGrady). McGrady was the better scorer, Hill the better rebounder. Hill's career lasted longer, McGrady was a slightly better playmaker. When you look at the two player's career NBA numbers, they are remarkably similar.
However, there are a few things that tip my hand towards picking Hill, and which may also help squeak him into the Hall of Fame. First of all, despite his devastating injuries, Hill was a key contributor every season he played, other than his last with the Clippers. There really wasn't a remarkable dropoff in his level of play over the last decade of his career. He also was a key contributor to a Suns team that was two wins away from playing in the 2010 NBA Finals (T-Mac's playoff plight is well documented). T-Mac, meanwhile, was really just hanging on after 2008 or so, being nothing more than a bench player. But the things that bump Hill ahead most in my eyes are his non-NBA accomplishments: two NCAA championships, two NCAA All-American selections, a 1996 Olympic gold medal. That sparkling resume will probably get Hill into the Hall of Fame, and will also get him my nod as having the better career than T-Mac.