Grant Hill Rookie Cards
I recently heard something that made me “fact check” its accuracy. I heard Grant Hill is the first, former Duke basketball player to enter into the Basketball Hall of Fame. What!? With all that talent Duke University has developed over the decades? Well, it’s true friends.
He had an outstanding college career. Playing all four years and earning two NCAA Championships! 1994 1st Team All-American. 1994 Player of the Year. 1993 NABC Defensive Player of the Year too. He was the 3rd Overall Pick of the 1994 Draft and the timing couldn’t have been better. With Michael Jordan announcing his first retirement in 1994 it just left a vacuum in the league and fans everywhere were looking for that next star to replace MJ and Grant Hill fit the bill nicely.
He answered the call and hit the ground running and dominating opponents. Only five months into his rookie season he led the All-Star votes as a starter and as a rookie, something that had never been done before. By his fifth season in the league, he put up the numbers and the highlight reels and was on the verge of taking over the league as the official face of the game.
But in April 2000 came a devastating injury. A sprained ankle that at first glance was just a typical sprain with limited bench time. He came back from that injury not fully healed and his game wasn’t quite the same. His ankle condition worsened and he missed the entire 2003-04 season recovering and rehabbing from major foot surgery.
The following season he made a great comeback and picked up where he left off and even made the All-Star Team as a starter, the fans loved him. In the 2005-06 season, he had another season-ending surgery, this time a hernia. He worked hard at recovery and getting back in game shape but found himself looking at old age, now 33 years old and facing much younger competition, he still found ways to contribute and continued to play until the end of the 2012-13 season.
Grant Hill played a total of 18 seasons: 6 with the Detroit Pistons, 5 with the Phoenix Suns, 6 with the Orlando Magic and 1 with the LA Clippers. He is Co-Rookie of the Year in 1995, 7x All-Star and 5x All-NBA.
In his NBA career he averaged; 16pts per game | 6 Rebounds | 4 Assist.
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER
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1994-95 Collectors Choice, Card No. 429 shop ebay
This budget-friendly Collector’s Choice brand has a very clean design. Fantastic full action photo and the vector image on the lower-left corner is a hit with me. Friendly white borders but thin paper stock make the corners an easy target for damage. Card back is fantastic too, great photography, design and overall well balanced. This rookie card of Mr. Hill can be found in Series 2 packs. Two parallels exist, Silver which features a silver facsimile signature inserted 1:1 packs and Gold featuring gold facsimile signature inserted 1:36 packs.
1994-95 Embossed, Card No. 103 shop ebay
This is a very small 121 card set but it was big on innovation. The base cards were the first of there kind having an embossed feel of a basketball. The rookies in the set as you can see here have lots of silver foil with a full action photo. The card back has some nice features too. Great photo of Hill at the free-throw line, player bio, and stats. A “Did You Know” section giving collectors some personal details about the players, by the looks of it Mr. Hill was a very well connected young man. One parallel in this one, Golds inserted one per pack has gold foil on the card front.
1994-95 Emotion, Card No. 28 shop ebay
This premier set issued by Skybox was top-notch quality. Strong card stock with high gloss and look at this amazing photo of Hill! The Emotion brand stamped an adjective in the front of each card identifying the featured player; Grant Hill’s emotion has been identified as “Pumped” as he goes in for the dunk. The card back really goes against the grain in every aspect and I guess that’s what makes it work and when you include two more photos that blend perfectly together what can you say except great job Skybox! There are no parallels in this set and with a base set like this none are needed.
1994-95 Finest, Card No. 240 shop ebay
Arguably Grant Hill’s best rookie card in terms of popularity and monetary value. It has a silver prism type background with thick borders. Flashes of color highlight photo of Hill. Cards are printed on really sturdy card stock and are covered with a protective film of plastic to further protect the card. Card back is decent giving us everything a good card back should have. There is one parallel in this set; Refractors were inserted 1:12 packs and are one of the most desired cards in the hobby.
1994-95 Flair, Card No. 213 shop ebay
Flair is another premium product that premiered in 1994. A 326 card set that features Grant Hill’s rookie card in it’s Series 2 packs. Thick card stock and high gloss makes these very sturdy but have been known for chipping along the edges. The card front features dual photos blended nicely and some very fancy font letters. The card back gives us full Duke University stats but lacks in player bio, and commentary. However, they do offer another full color, action photo. Ther are no parallels in this set.
1994-95 Fleer, Card No. 280 shop ebay
In the era of the mid-’80s to mid-90s, the Fleer basketball brand was king of the hill (pun intended). Seriously, look at this great design offered to collectors. Great action photo with lots of anticipation in Grant Hill’s body language. The card back is challenging to find in mint condition due to thin paper stock and black borders, the overall design is decent. This rookie card was found in Series 2 packs and has no parallels.
1994-95 Hoops, Card No. 322 shop ebay
This was another budget-friendly product in 1994 but because of the thin card stock, they are prone to damaged edges and corners. Great game day action photo features Hill going up for a layup. They can found in Series 2 packs and the card front has huge font letters in gold foil. The card back gives us blurred out rookie lettering, a portrait photo that appears to be the same one as the card listed right below. But I really like the creativity of player name, player bio, lots of commentary and full college stats. There are no parallels in this set.
1994-95 Jam Session, Card No. 55 shop ebay
The standard size for any sports card today is 2.50″ x 3.50″ but for Jam Session brand they were a bit taller measuring 2.50″ x 4.75″ which makes them about an inch and a quarter taller than the traditional size. I liked this size for basketball because typically the players are so tall I just felt it was appropriate to put them on a taller card, but on the flip side back in the day, these were always hard to protect and store.
The card front features a fantastic portrait photo but I’m not a fan of the player/team name on the upper left side of the card, they could’ve done so much more here with the kind of space they had. The card back has a good design to it and offers everything a card back should have. There are no parallels in this set.
1994-95 Skybox Premium, Card No. 226 shop ebay
Full game day action photo with no borders feature this Hill RC. They can be found in Series 2 packs. Some basic picture editing tricks feature a red opacity background and a highlighted outline around player gives an animated look to the card front. The back of the card features a basic, borderline generic design. There are no parallels in this set.
1994-95 SP Championship, Card No. 57 shop ebay
This was a retail-only, premier set, released by Upper Deck, and I remember opening up a ton of this product. Fantastic game day action photo with three defenders surrounding him as he takes the rock to the hole. However, the extremely dark photo makes it really hard to find mint copies and the spotlight on the stadium ceiling makes it hard to look at. The card back is average in design and lacks a player bio. There is one parallel in this set, Die Cuts were inserted one per pack.
1994-95 SP, Card No. 3 shop ebay
Unlike its counterpart, the SP brand was also a premier set but was only available through hobby shops. These were high-quality packs in their day. Lots of eye appeal too. Full action photo with no borders, gold/silver foil background, and that handsome SP logo tops off the front of the card. Great looking card back with everything a good card back should have. There is one parallel in this set, Die Cuts were inserted 1 per pack.
1994-95 Stadium Club, Card No. 181 shop ebay
This rookie card can be found in Series 1 packs of Stadium Club. Great portrait photo of Mr. Hill on Draft Day. A nice suit and a big smile go nicely with that Draft Pick logo on the lower left. The card back has me scratching my head a bit, the only thing I can make out is the basketball, the rest of it is literally a blur. It does, however, give us all the pertinent information that you would expect from a good card back. There is one parallel, First Day Issue inserted 1:24 packs. There is also, Members Only and Super Teams NBA Finals parallels that were available via mail order.
1994-95 Topps, Card No. 211 shop ebay
This rookie card of our featured HOF’er can be found in Series 2 packs. A great action photo placed on a rough-edged white border. A great looking Draft Pick logo at lower left really adds a nice highlight to the overall design. The card back is well balanced and creative. There is one parallel, Spectralight is inserted 1:4 packs.
1994-95 Ultra, Card No. 239 shop ebay
This borderless action photo of Grant Hill can be found in Series 2 packs of the Fleer Ultra brand. A hobby favorite due to the classic Ultra Rookie logo placed at the lower left. High gloss and sturdy card stock make these durable but they are known to chip along the edges. The card back gives us multiple photos but seems to fall short on everything else due to the extremely tiny font, no player bio, no commentary, and partial stats. There are no parallels in this set.
1994-95 Upper Deck, Card No. 157 shop ebay
Found in Series 1 packs, the thin card stock, dark edges can make it challenging to find mint copies. Fantastic photography as Mr. Hill takes an intimidating pose for the camera. The colorful background makes this one special. The card back shows a less intimidating photo and only lacks commentary. No parallels for this set.
Happy Collecting, Collectors
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Grant Hill Stats | Basketball-Reference.com https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hillgr01.html (accessed November 5, 2019).