He personally witnessed ceremonies for Bad Boys Isiah Thomas and Vinnie Johnson.
Hill was even a part of his former teammate Joe Dumars’ game-night celebration, prior to a 111-97 win versus the Vancouver Grizzlies on March 10, 2000.
Those moments have always stuck with the now retired, player-turned-analyst. He would love to see his No. 33 someday beaming from above the arena of his former stomping grounds.
“That was always something that you would look up there during the national anthem and think ‘Man, one day I would love to be up there,'” Hill said. “Obviously, things change and what not by leaving and so on. But I’ll put my six years up there up against anybody else’s six years.
“So if it’s meant to be, it happens. But if not, it doesn’t change how I feel about the place not one bit.”
His 9,393 points, 3,417 boards, and 2,720 assists through six seasons are only matched by Lebron James, Larry Bird, and Oscar Robertson.
“When I go to Detroit, it conjures up a lot of great memories,” Hill said. “I think the thing that I enjoyed and maybe fully didn’t appreciate is there is a sense of pride up there in Michigan, particularly in Detroit. The city obviously has been through a lot, but when I was there it was a pride about Detroit and anything from Detroit.
“To be a public figure, to be a celebrity, and to be a part of that pride, I could feel it, and it was genuine love and appreciation. Wherever I was, in the suburbs or in the city, there is just a love for the Pistons, Red Wings and Lions.
Hill’s throwback Pistons uniform is currently being sold on NBA.com.
None of the current Pistons are occupying Hill’s old number. However, the one thing that all Pistons players with retired numbers have in common is either an NBA championship or an enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Hill has neither.
“It was really cool to be that dude in that environment,” Hill said. “When you’re young, you don’t really appreciate it and totally understand it. But I think when I look back, the impact makes me feel really good”